■ Investment support promised
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that both central and local governments would fully support domestic and foreign manufacturers' investment plans to set up plants in Taiwan to increase economic prosperity and development. Hsieh made the remarks while inspecting progress in the construction of a new 7.5 generation thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) panel plant being built by AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) in the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區). AUO chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀) told Hsieh that after inauguration of the new TFT-LCD panel plant, the company will be able to create around 7,000 jobs. The plant is scheduled to begin full operation in the fourth quarter of this year, Lee said.
■ Phone firm inks labor agreement
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's largest provider of phone services, yesterday signed a collective agreement with its union, promising no layoffs and salary cuts in five years, the Central News Agency reported. The agreement was co-signed by company chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) and Simon Chang (張緒中), head of Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union (中華電信工會). Despite the agreement's signing, company vice-president and spokesman Hank Wang (王漢朝) said the company would still push forward its plans to encourage 5,000 employees to take up an offer of early preferential retirement over the next five years while recruiting 2,000 new employees, in a bid to boost operational efficiency and reduce personnel costs, the report said.