Thu, Nov 25, 2004 - Page 3 News List

KMT workers still waiting for their paychecks

STAFF WRITER

A senior Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) official said yesterday that payment of the party's workers had been delayed "for just a few days," after complaints that paychecks that had been expected on the first day of this month had not been delivered.

According to Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), director general of the KMT's administration and management committee, the party has in the past issued workers' paychecks on the first day of every month, while most civic organizations pay their staff at the end of each month.

Chang made the remarks yesterday after a complaint filed by the KMT Union (國民黨產業工會) on Friday with the Taipei City Government's Bureau of Labor Affairs

Stating that the KMT had delayed its November paycheck for KMT workers in violation of the Labor Standards Law (勞基法), the union representing KMT workers said that it filed the complaint because the party has been oblivious to the workers' query about the delay in delivering their paychecks. With nowhere else to turn, the workers made the appeal to the Taipei City Government seeking its help in safeguarding their rights, KMT Union director Liu Chien-sung (劉建崧) said.

"We will try our best to pay them by the end of the month. Everyone knows that the KMT is undergoing financial difficulties amid oppression from the ruling administration. We believe everybody can comprehend that [the KMT] is, in the short term, having difficulty in deploying its financial resources," Chang said.

In response to Chang's remarks yesterday, the union said that even if the KMT headquarters wants to change the payment date, it should first consult the union.

According to Liu, this month was the third time this year that the KMT had delayed issuing paychecks to its staff.

Liu said that the KMT officials who retired in August have yet to get their retirement payments, while those who retired in September were asked to wait for the payments, with no interest being paid during the waiting period.

The KMT stated in June that it will undergo major staff cuts after next month's legislative elections.

The party currently employs an estimated 1,700 full-time staff, nearly 10 times the number employed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

According to Chang, the party pays NT$150 million (US$4.55 million) in salaries per month, a figure that increases to NT$200 million if pensions for retired employees are taken into account.

The KMT has been described as the world's richest political party because of its extensive assets and the large number of businesses it runs. In 2000, the magazine Wealth Monthly estimated the value of the KMT's assets at NT$17 billion.

But the party has had financial problems over the past few years since the DPP took over as ruling party.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said yesterday that the KMT should pay its 1,700 party workers quickly, because, as far as he knew, the KMT has offered campaign funds ranging from NT$2 million to NT$5 million to each of its legislative candidates, which proved that the KMT is not as poor as it claims.

With Additional reporting by staff reporter Jewel Huang

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