Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Mega International Bank's union calls for a grand strike

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The union of Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商銀) said yesterday that it had proposed the national federation of banking unions call a grand strike and partake in the sit-in campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The odds of the proposal becoming reality seemed slim, however, following a lukewarm response from the federation.

"We tendered the proposal today to both our own union's assembly and the National Federation of Bank Employee Unions (銀行員工會全國聯合會)," Mega's labor union chairman Tsai Chiu-far (蔡秋發) said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The union will discuss the proposal on Oct. 1, Tsai said.

They hoped the federation could mobilize other bank unions to participate, as unions should take the chance to express their strong opposition to the people responsible for the nation's incorrect financial policy reforms that benefit private conglomerates only, he said.

Despite the union's ambition, Tsai said that Mega's union would not act unilaterally if other banking labor unions did not support the idea.

Only seven out of the federation's 16 members have the right to launch industrial action, including the Taiwan Business Bank (TBB, 台灣企銀), Chang Hwa Bank (彰化銀行), and First Bank (第一銀行).

The TBB's union did not appear interested, though. Union chairman Lin Wan-fu (林萬福) told the Taipei Times yesterday that the union's priority was to facilitate TBB's fundraising plan and gain fresh capital to improve asset quality.

"We do not want the proposed strike to mess up our fundraising or our share price," Lin said.

The federation said the chances of the proposed strike gaining approval were slim as each group member has different political views.

The other six unions did not share Mega's view, the federation's secretary-general Han Shih-shian (韓仕賢) said in a phone interview.

The management can even ask for compensation for any damage caused by strikes, Han said.

While market sentiment remained weak as speculation increases that the sit-in campaign will turn into labor strikes, shares of financial stocks rose 0.34 percent and electronics were up 0.86 percent, according to statistics from the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

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