In a meeting on June 29, voting delegates of the Taiwan Public Television Service Enterprise Union (TPTSEU), a UNI Global Union affiliate, overwhelmingly approved the adoption of new by-laws governing the nomination and selection of a union representative to serve on the Governing Board of the Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS).

The new by-laws signify an exceptional turning point in TPTSEU’s seventeen-year-long campaign to have an elected worker representative on the board of directors at PTS and ensure good governance and independence of public media in Taiwan.  

The TPTSEU’s meeting was made possible after a Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s Parliament) session on 26 May 2023 amended the Public Television Act (PTA), which defines the role, function and organizing of the publicly funded Public Television Service Foundation. The PTA also defines how the Governing Board of Directors of the Public Television Service Foundation (PTS) should be composed.

The significant changes made on May 26 are in the PTA Chapter Two, Article 13, which specifies that one of the 11 to 15 Governing Board of Directors must be a workers’ representative. The amended article also endorses the TPTSEU’s authority to nominate a worker representative, referred to as an Employee-Director.

Before the amendment, in 2007, the TPTSEU negotiated a breakthrough agreement with the government that allowed the union to nominate a representative to the Governing Board, comprising 11 to 15 members.

However, the arrangement was on a goodwill basis. The TPTSEU nominee still needed to be endorsed by the Legislative Yuan’s Review Committee before being confirmed as one of the directors.

The latest PTA amendment in 2023 ensures that the right to nominate a worker representative to the board as a director is recognized and institutionalised under the law.

Hamilton Cheng, TPTSEU’s representative to the UNI Asia & Pacific’s Media, Entertainment & Arts Committee, said: “This win is a milestone for us and ensures that our union’s independent and unbiased selection process is respected and empowers workers and their representatives to actively contribute to the media industry’s governance.”

The Taiwan PTS is now only the second public service media body, after ABC Australia, to achieve direct Employee Directorship by workers’ union recommendation in Asia and the Pacific.