Wed, Jan 09, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Eminent Luggage hoping to attract foreign workers

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter, in greater Tainan

Employees work on the production line at the headquarters of Eminent Luggage Corp. in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Local luggage maker Eminent Luggage Corp (萬國通路) yesterday said it is facing a labor shortage and hopes the government will relax limitations on the hiring of foreign laborers to facilitate its capacity expansion plans.

“We held three job fairs [last year], which attracted 300 applicants, but none of them stayed with the company after they gained a full understanding of the work,” Huang Kuo-chiang (黃國強), the general manager of the company’s managerial department, said yesterday.

Huang made the remark at a press conference held yesterday when Council of Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) visited the company.

The jobs the company offered are tough, because workers have to use a special sewing machine to make suitcases, Huang said. They have to hold a heavy suitcase while sewing, which requires strength and hard work, he added.

Eminent urged the government to ease restrictions on the hiring of foreign workers because the jobs were too difficult to attract Taiwanese to fill them.

Eminent president Dick Hsieh (謝明振) said that the reason why some companies want to hire more foreign laborers is not because they do not want to hire locals and pay them higher wages, but because Taiwanese do not want to do certain jobs.

Meanwhile, Hsieh said the company plans to invest NT$2 billion (US$66.7 million) to expand its production lines in greater Tainan, which would create 500 jobs and double capacity.

Hsieh said the company plans to hire 400 locals and 100 foreigners. However, the company would hire 60 additional foreign workers if the government increase the ratio of foreigners permitted in a workforce to more than 40 percent in the future.

Hsieh said the company plans to invest more if its labor shortage is resolved.

In addition to the difficult nature of the work, it is also hard for businesses to recruit Taiwanese night-shift workers, said Wang Jin-ho (王錦和), the chairman of unlisted sunglasses maker Photoply (斌視). Wang was also present at the Eminent press event.

Eminent posted 40.11 percent growth in sales for November, earning NT$250 million, compared with the NT$178 million in sales it posted for the same period last year. In the first 11 months of last year, the luggage maker accumulated NT$2.74 billion in revenue, up 13.77 percent from 2011’s NT$2.41 billion.

Eminent’s stock price plummeted 1.03 percent to NT$19.3 yesterday, underperforming the TAIEX, which slipped 0.43 percent.

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