Founding Statement

TCTU Founding Statement

For over 70 years, the workers' movement in Taiwan has attempted to bring together autonomous and progressive forces within the working class to change an unjust social and economic system. During the Japanese Occupation Period, workers in Taiwan opposed colonial rule, and worked to change capitalism, establishing a national union federation and a working-class political party to achieve their aims. A new autonomous workers' movement emerged when Martial Law was lifted in the late 1980s. The movement demanded respect for workers and an end to government interference in union affairs. The foundation for the creation of the Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions (TCTU) was built through the hard work and struggle of comrades in the movement. We now proudly announce the creation of the TCTU, an important milestone in the history of the workers' movement in Taiwan.

Taiwan is facing unprecedented changes. This year's presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power to a different political party mark the completion of Taiwan's democratization. As we enter a new century, workers' issues and other long-repressed social issues are now coming to the forefront of public attention. Workers were the main force in Taiwan's democratic movement, and we will not shirk from our duty to continue to reform society as Taiwan enters a new stage of development. Capitalists control all in Taiwan's present social-economic system, and workers are forced to submit to this system. If the system is not changed, there will be no protection or respect for workers, Taiwan's financial conglomerates will continue to control politics in Taiwan, and the masses will never have control over their destiny!

Taiwan began following a neoliberal course in the 1980s, and began advocating "liberalization, internationalization." Workers in Taiwan are now faced with plant closures, the privatization of state-run industry increases in educational and living expenditures, widening income disparities, and worsening labor legislation. We must deepen our understanding of the present situation, bolster our resolve, and strengthen our solidarity to meet the new challenges.

TCTU's long-term goals are to change the unequal relationship between capital and labor, and create a fair and just society in cooperation with other movements for social change.

Our provisional goals are:

*Revise the Labor Union Law to give workers the freedom of assembly.

*Protect workers' right to work, and raise labor standards.

*Temporarily put a halt on privatization, and allow employees to participate in company management.

*Establish a redistributive social welfare system.

*Join forces with other social movements, and consolidate workers' political power.

No true national workers' organization existed while the KMT was in power. The best assurance that the above objectives are met is for an autonomous workers' movement, independent of all political forces, to defend working class demands. Further, under global capitalism, the fate of workers of different countries is tied together more closely each day. Our goals lead us to the inexorable conclusion that we must destroy national and racial barriers and join in struggle with our brothers and sisters around the world!

We are proud today to announce the establishment of TCTU. We pledge to help workers to change their plight as disadvantaged members of society. We will work tirelessly to unify all workers in Taiwan, and join all progressive forces to reform Taiwan's unjust social and economic system!

Workers of Taiwan, unite!