Union Organizing Strategies for Workers in Irregular Employment in Taiwan: The Possibilities and Obstacles

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Yubin CHIU, National Pingtung University, Taiwan
In the era of neo-liberal globalization, Taiwanese society has witnessed a significant increase of the use of irregular employment in past two decades. The soar of irregular employees, including part-timers, day workers, contract workers, and newly emerging labour dispatch workers, has left a substantial impact on the working conditions in general. The development has raised the concerns from the society and government and also attracted research interests in the Taiwan’s academic community from the perspective of business management, labour regulation, labour flexibility, working proficiency, labour market, and so on. However, there is too little effort made by the students of labour studies in Taiwan to the understanding of unionization and collective actions of the irregular employees, while there have been some innovative experiments and reforms growing from the grassroots union movements to tackle the organizing difficulty in the irregular employment in recent years. This research focuses on the possibilities and obstacles to organizing Taiwan’s workers in the irregular employment relations. Three dimensions will be employed to analyze the unionization of irregular employees: the legal framework of trade unions, the mindset of organizing of union leadership, and the characteristics of irregular employment in modern service industry. By in-depth interviews with union leaders, union organisers, and irregular employees and participatory observations on union activities, the research will explore the possibility of unionization in irregular employment sector. Finally, the institutional constraints of development of the organizing activities of irregular employment workers will be reviewed.