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Thank god for the Taiwan Higher Education Union

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Joined: 27 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 8:34 pm    Post subject: Thank god for the Taiwan Higher Education Union Reply with quote

Teachers’ advocacy groups on Friday celebrated the passage of the Teachers’ Compensation Act (教師待遇條例), which stipulates unified standard wages for teachers at public as well as private institutions.
In a dramatic turn of events, a controversial clause in the bill was amended at the last moment, averting a proposed measure that critics said would have slashed salaries for lecturers at private institutions by more than half — from NT$68,990 to NT$29,345.

Hmmm . . . NT$29,345 per month. Doesn't sound very good, especially if you spent years investing in your education. In fact, is it possible to live on such a meager income in Taipei? But hold your horses. The Taiwan Higher Education Union came to the rescue. Read on:

The much-maligned clause, Article 17, originally stipulated that academic research fees among public university lecturers “may apply” to their counterparts at private universities as well, leading critics to disparage the act as enabling private institutions to reduce salaries.
Following a series of protests, it was later revised at interparty caucus negotiations on Thursday to require regulations at public universities to be applied to private institutions as well.
Although the bill provides private institutions the ability to adjust wages, it prohibits any changes without consent from union representatives.
The Taiwan Higher Education Union, which spearheaded a prolonged campaign to demand equal pay among lecturers at public and private institutions, said in a statement that the bill was a positive step in protecting the rights of lecturers.
“The revision allowed lecturers at private institutions to remain free from the threat of being arbitrarily stripped of their academic research fees, establishing protection of regular wages among lecturers,” the union said.
The revised act, which received bipartisan support at the legislature, would provide a legal basis for salaries, research fees and various bonuses for all lecturers and stipulates related fines for schools that fail to comply.
If a private institution fails to provide wages to its employees, the bill would hold members of the school’s board of directors responsible, with each violation warranting a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000

I didn't think unions in Taiwan had this kind of clout? But hats off to them. Without their campaign against the controversial clause in the bill, lecturers at private universities would be really struggling to make ends meet on a salary of less than $NT30,000. Still, don't get your hopes up: The Act was originally tabled in order to anticipate shortfalls in income that private universities would have due to a falling birth rate. I myself can't see how private universities can sustain themselves going forward. Either staff are gonna have to take massive pay cuts or universities are gonna have to flog off some of their land. Besides that, they don't have many options, except to close down. Not such a bad prospect considering the substandard institutions that overpopulate the tertiary sector in Taiwan.
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