Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taipei probes Next TV layoffs

MASS FIRING:Taipei City’s Labor Department said ERA Communications failed to give 60 days notice of its plan to fire 40% of Next TV’s workers and it could be fined

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

A Next TV news crew leaves the Next Media offices for a day’s work on March 26. The Taipei City Department of Labor yesterday launched a probe after the new owners of Next TV, ERA Communications, announced its intention to fire 280 of the station’s 700 workers.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Department of Labor yesterday launched a probe into Next TV Broadcasting (壹傳媒電視廣播) after it received a notice from the station’s new employer, ERA Communications Inc (年代網際事業), that it planned to fire 280 of the TV station’s 700 workers. The department said ERA Communications could face fines up to NT$500,000 if the mass layoff is found to violate labor laws.

ERA Communications purchased the TV station from Next Media (壹傳媒) on April 15. It formally takes over the station on June 1.

The layoffs are to be carried out in six phases starting on Friday next week, and will be completed on July 31. About 40 percent of the station’s workers will be laid off, according to the company’s notice to the labor department.

Labor department Commissioner Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫) said ERA Communications sent the notice yesterday morning and cited long-term losses at the station and adjustment of organizations as the rationale for the firings.

The department said ERA Communications did not violate the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), which stipulates that an employer should inform the department about its layoff plans 10 days in advance.

The company followed the regulations and reported its first-phase layoff on Tuesday.

However, the Act on the Protection Against Mass Dismissal of Employees (大量解雇勞工保護法) stipulates that a business entity with 200 to 500 workers must give at least 60 days notice if it plans to lay off more than one-fourth of its employees over a three-month period, or sack more than 50 workers in one day. Violators could be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.

ERA Communications failed to provide this notice, the department said.

“The department will follow administrative procedures and give ERA Communication 10 days to explain its layoff plan. We will determine whether the company should be fined in one week,” Chen said.

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