Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Taiwanese government has confirmed that it guarantees the rights of foreign ship crew members who work on a number of Taiwanese fishing vessels, including those from Indonesia.
A statement from the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) received by Indonesia Window here on Monday said the Indonesian representative office in Taiwan gave an explanation of the Taiwan government’s efforts to guarantee the rights of foreign ship crew members.
In order to guarantee the rights of foreign fishermen, the Taiwanese government has established procedures to hire foreign workers and management of foreign fishermen who work outside the Taiwanese waters.
On that regard, owners and seafarers are required to sign an agreement that clearly regulates the rights of foreign workers, with a guarantee to pay a minimum wage for a foreign fisherman of 450 U.S. dollars, and provide health and death insurance.
Taiwanese fishing boats apply a bonus system for crew members who have more experience and abilities, and they can also get higher salaries.
However, the system is likely prone to disputes over the exploitation of excessive working time.
So far, there have been 120 reports of cases on wage disputes between Indonesian crew members and Taiwanese fishing boat management.
A statement from the Indonesian representative office in Taiwan mentioned that investigations showed that most of the cases were disputes over wages and excessive working hours based on Taiwanese law.
After going through examinations, all those who violate would be severely punished.
For instance, on March 16, 2020, the Taiwanese ship management JIN HSING CHI NO.3, was proven to have committed fraud through an agent by withholding the salary of a foreign sailor worth 100 U.S. dollars every month, and not fully paying his salary according to the agreement.
With that evidence, the Taiwanese government sentenced the agent to pay one million Taiwan dollars.
In addition, the authorities that manage the Taiwanese fishing industry have established a special line for handling complaints, and periodically carry out investigations.
Currently, Taiwan has registered 12,983 Indonesian ship crew members.
Of that number, two thirds of them are recruited by agents in the third country, which leaves them very vulnerable to exploitation.
Therefore, Taiwan has built an integrated licensing agency to ensure that evaluation systems run well, and to support the improvement of agent service quality.
In addition, every month the Indonesian government updates the list of Indonesia ship crew members to ensure the structure of the fishery business.
In general, the relationship between Indonesian fishermen and Taiwanese fishing boat owners is harmonious and mutually helpful.
The Taiwanese government also strongly protects the rights of foreign fishermen, and so there are very few disputes over the rights of foreign workers, said a statement from the Indonesian representative office in Taiwan.
Taiwan will continue to cooperate with Indonesia, by jointly promoting good fishing boat management and protection of fishermen’s rights.
The Taiwanese government provides hotlines for Indonesian crew members if they are being treated unfairly at + 886-2-8073-3141 for the authorized officers in Taiwan, or + 62-21-515-3939 for the Taiwanese representative office in Indonesia.
Reporting by Indonesia Window