Thu, Jan 03, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone offers voluntary retirement to workers

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s No. 3 telecom, yesterday said that it has been offering voluntary retirement to optimize its workforce to cope with the market’s shift from traditional wireless connectivity to new telecom services.

The company’s comments came after the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday reported that Far EasTone planned to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, citing a tip-off from an unnamed employee.

That implied that about 625 employees could be affected, if the plan is fulfilled, as Far EasTone registered 6,250 workers in its annual report.

A 40-year-old Far EasTone engineer was last month notified that he was qualified to join a voluntary retirement scheme, the newspaper said.

The telecom proposed a compensation package equal to six or seven months of his wages, the engineer, who worked at Far EasTone’s fixed-line business division, was cited as saying.

Far EasTone plans to cut 10 percent of its workforce, the worker said, citing internal information.

However, the company denied the report.

“We are not cutting jobs. We have proposed retirement [packages] to optimize our workforce. We have been doing this for four years,” Far EasTone spokesperson Lang Ya-ling (郎亞玲) said by telephone.

“We are not targeting any business division. We send a notification to any employee who is eligible for retirement,” Lang said. “We give those employees the option to join the program.”

The company has not set any goal for the voluntary retirement program, Lang said.

The telecom last month launched a digital transformation program aimed at generating a combined 35 percent of its revenue from enterprise clients and digital services, including big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

The company also aims to double the number of its employees with digital skills to 30 percent of its total workforce by next year, from 15 percent last year.

Far EasTone is not the only local telecom facing challenges to adjust their workforce structure and business strategies to align with changes in the telecom market.

Bigger rival Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) last month said that it was facing the biggest retirement wave in its history, with an estimated 5,000 employees to retire within the next five years.

The vacancies would be filled by new staff with knowledge and skills in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, mobile payments and 5G-related technologies, it said, adding that it plans to offer 1,600 new jobs this year.

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