Workers on furlough increase
The number of workers on furlough nationwide has continued to grow because of a global economic slowdown that has hurt some of the country’s high-tech companies, data released by the Council of Labor Affairs showed yesterday.
As of Saturday, a total of 13,034 employees from 109 companies had reached agreements with their employers to take unpaid leave and 12,487 of them are currently on furlough, according to council’s statistics.
The numbers were up from Dec. 16, when 10,130 workers from 100 companies were reported to have agreed to take unpaid leave, with 9,571 actually on furlough.
About 2,760 people currently on unpaid leave have signed up for council training courses, while many companies are also providing employee training in an effort to become more competitive, the council said.
Financial Ombudsman launched
The Financial Ombudsman Institution (金融消費評議中心) started operations yesterday, providing consumers with an additional speedy channel for settling disputes related to the purchase of financial products and services.
The independent body, intended to protect the rights and benefits of consumers, should settle disputes within three months after complaints are lodged. There are 5,000 disputes awaiting its decisions.
Financial institutions are obligated to provide compensation in cases involving small damage claims of NT$100,000 (US$3,300) or less, once the ombudsman body rules in favor of the consumers.
Leaky pipe halts Mailiao unit
Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) halted its No. 1 residue desulfurization unit in Mailiao (麥寮), Yunlin County, yesterday morning after a pipe leak caused smoke, firm chairman Chen Bao-lang (陳寶郎) said by telephone.
The refiner, which experienced a series of fires at the Mailiao petrochemical complex last year, said it had planned to resume operations at the unit yesterday and expected no impact on sales from the accident, Chen said.
New Year’s SMS traffic drops
All three major telecoms operators saw a decline in New Year’s Eve SMS traffic on Saturday, as more mobile users switched to free apps on smartphones and social networking Web sites to send greetings to friends and family.
According to Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), its SMS traffic on New Year’s eve dropped 6 percent from 2010, falling to 20.62 million texts.
Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) said its SMS traffic on Saturday declined 14 percent year-on-year to 30 million messages, while Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) saw texts by its users dip 10 percent to 32 million.
The firms said data transmission rose significantly from last year.
Government bonds decline
Government bonds dropped for a second day before a debt auction today.
The yield on the 1 percent notes due in January 2017 rose one basis point to 0.998 percent, prices from the GRETAI Securities Market showed.
The government will sell NT$40 billion in five-year bonds today. The government will offer the five-year debt at 1 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Government bonds returned 3.8 percent last year, the worst performance among 10 Asian economies tracked by HSBC Holdings Plc.
NT dollar falls NT$0.025
The New Taiwan dollar fell against its US counterpart yesterday, declining NT$0.025 to close at NT$30.315.
Turnover totaled US$493 million during the trading session.