Taiwan: Teachers hold vigil in demand for pension

Thousands of teachers from all over the Republic of China (Taiwan) descended on its capital, Taipei City, on 26 September to demonstrate for the right of private school teachers to receive pensions.

A spokesperson from the National Teachers’ Association (NTA) in the Republic of China reports that unlike their counterparts who teach in public schools, staff working in private schools in the country are excluded from receiving the right to a pension. EI has supported this action by its member organisation and has called on the Republic of China authorities to give private school teachers an equal right to a pension. EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said: "All workers have the right to pension because they have worked for it. There is no reason at all for private school teachers to be excluded." It is to be noted that the national Teacher's Day was celebrated on 28 September, while private teachers were actively fighting for their rights in the streets, inspiring their students to know more about democracy and their daily life. In recent years many policies regarding pension rights have been put in place which ensure all employees have a pension after retirement. This applies to almost all professions across all sectors, except teachers in private schools. Despite a pledge during the 2008 electoral campaign, made by the incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou, to correct the situation, private school teachers are still waiting, two years later, for their right to pension without a resolution in sight. In March, when NTA members voted to demonstrate for this cause, the Executive Yuan agreed to implement the teachers' right in order for the demonstration to be called off. However, no action has been taken by the authorities thereafter. On the Ketagalan Boulevard, which leads to the Presidential Palace, teachers sat on the ground holding placards that said 'Hold your promise' and 'No bounced cheques', the latter referring to the electoral promise of President Ma. When night fell, the teachers held a vigil with torchlights to signify the number of days they had waited since 2008 for the implementation of their right to a pension.

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