Unions and labor activists accuse bank of repression

DIFFERING VIEWS::In a written statement, the Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank denied that a prominent union member was fired as a result of his union activities

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - Page 13

Unions and labor rights activists yesterday staged a protest outside the Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank (SCSB, 上海商業儲蓄銀行) headquarters in Taipei, accusing the bank of repressing union members, and urging it to allow a fired former union member to return to work.

Members from several bank unions and the Taiwan Labor Front (TLF) yesterday also voiced their support for former senior SCSB employee and union leader Cheng Chun-chih (陳軍智), who was twice dismissed by the bank.

Their protest came in following several readjustments in the bank’s position on labor disputes, which the Taipei City Department of Labor confirmed as employment discrimination and the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) confirmed as repression of union activities.

“Since the founding of the SCSB Union in 2010, the company’s management has repeatedly harassed union members — including Chen — through one-on-one talks with union members and job readjustments,” TLF representative Chang Feng-yi (張烽益) said during the protest.

The Taipei City Department of Labor previously imposed a fine of NT$1 million (US$33,800) on the bank for its discriminatory actions regarding Chen and other union members.

However, the bank still fired Chen last year and would not let him return to work despite a CLA ruling that confirmed the bank’s moves as repression of union activities.

“The ban is simply ruthless,” Chen said.

“One of the problems with labor laws is that the most severe penalty a company that represses union activities can get is a fine, but they don’t care about these fines, and sometimes even pay the fine from the budget that has been designated to be used for employee welfare,” he added.

In a written statement, SCSB denied that Chen was fired as a result of his union activities., adding that was he dismissed because of excessive absence from work.

As to Chen’s request to return to work, the bank said that his case is now being reviewed by the court, and the bank will decide whether to allow him to return to work based on the court ruling.