Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Workers protest CPC’s plan to close refinery

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Chen Chih-chang, right, an executive officer at the Taiwan Petroleum Workers’ Union, and other members of the union protest during a handover ceremony at state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan’s Taipei headquarters yesterday over CPC’s plan to shut down an oil refinery in Greater Kaohsiung’s Nanzih District in 2015.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Petroleum Workers’ Union (TPWU) yesterday protested against state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) plan to shut down an oil refinery in Greater Kaohsiung’s Nanzih District (楠梓) in 2015, calling on the company’s new chief executive to undertake a thorough review of the policy.

About 20 members of TPWU chanted: “Rescue refineries in Kaohsiung. Preserve the fifth naphtha cracking plant” during a handover ceremony outside the company’s Taipei headquarters.

Chen Chih-chang (陳枝章), an executive officer at TPWU, said he hoped CPC could delay the plan to close the refinery or even consider canceling it altogether to avoid economic losses.

The TPWU said once CPC closes its fifth naphtha cracker in Greater Kaohsiung, more than 100,000 people would lose their jobs, lifting Greater Kaohsiung’s unemployment rate significantly and causing the municipality to lose NT$10 trillion in wages a year.

“CPC’s schedule to shut down the naphtha cracker in Greater Kaohsiung in 2015 looks like a rough draft and it is still without supporting measures. We hope the management can make further adjustments or convene meetings with the unions to listen to workers’ voices,” Chen said.

He said the naphtha cracker functions well and that it could continue to do so for 20 more years.

“The management’s attitude is ambiguous,” he said.

The union said it had proposed transforming redundant oil refineries in Greater Kaohsiung into high-tech factories to protect the petrochemical industry and workers’ rights since the government announced a plan to relocate the plants in 1990, but that both the central and local governments shirked their responsibilities.

Arthur Kung (孔祥雲), who yesterday replaced Lin Maw-wen (林茂文) as CPC’s president, said the company would continue talks with the unions to protect workers’ rights.

Kung said the new management would implement industrial safety and environmental protection policies, strengthen its core business, maintain its floating oil price mechanism, improve business performance and promote knowledge management, all of which would hopefully achieve higher profits.

He did not comment on whether CPC would continue to freeze the price of household gas and bottled gas next month, saying only that it would review the policy and make adjustments if necessary.

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