Slogan-chanting workers threw eggs at riot police on Sunday as thousands took to Taipei’s streets amid drizzle to demand a pay rise and better protection of their rights.
Dozens of riot police in the square outside the presidential office were pelted. A small group of demonstrators briefly scuffled with officers, but there were no arrests.
The rally came after the government in September decided not to raise the minimum wage. Business leaders said they feared the additional cost amid the economic downturn.
“The [president] Ma Ying-jeou administration pledges to improve the economy, but what has happened is that workers’ rights and interests were sacrificed to benefit business groups,” said Chu Wei-li, of the National Federation of Independent Trade Union.
Chu said 3,000 turned out for the protest, double the original forecast, in what he called a sign that times are hard for workers. A police estimate was not available.
Taiwan’s export-reliant economy shrank 0.18 per cent year-on-year in the three months to June, the first contraction in nearly three years, due to weak overseas sales.
Income levels have remained nearly flat for the past decade while the August jobless rate rose to 4.4 per cent, the highest this year.