The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday that the Formosa Plastic Group's request to hire foreign laborers for an expansion project at its sixth naphtha cracker will be approved, as long as local laborers rights are protected.
"We will do everything to protect our own laborers and hope to jump-start our slow economy. This is our priority," said Kuo Fong-yu (郭芳煜), director-general of the council's Employment and Vocational Training Administration. "If the project is consistent with our priority, of course we will do what we can to make it happen."
According to the Cabinet, the fourth-phase expansion project at Formosa Plastics' sixth naphtha cracker will cost NT$124.6 billion and will boost GDP by an estimated 2.3 percent.
The company says the new facility will employ more than 1,800 people once it begins operation and will have annual revenues of NT$235 billion.
The company estimates that more than 170,000 jobs will be created in related industries nationwide.
Kuo said that the council was asking Formosa Plastics to import no more than 30 percent of the labor it requires to build the new facilities.
The group's plan, however, is to hire 7,200 foreign workers, or 37.5 percent of the total 19,200.
Under the council's guidelines, the group would be able to hire about 5,760 foreign workers for the construction work.
"The required ratio between domestic workers and foreign workers must be followed so our own workers' rights will be protected," Kuo said. "However, this project is not a one-day job. They need different kinds of laborers for different phases of the project."
The group only has to "keep the balance of foreign workers; they do not have to hire the same people all the time," he said.
"For instance, different foreign laborers with different expertise will fit different needs in the project. They can lay off those they don't need any more and hire different laborers as they need them, as long as they do not cross the fine line," he said.
Formosa Plastics said yesterday it was still planning to present a proposal to the CLA on Friday that included hiring 7,200 foreign workers.