Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chunghwa union drops strike threat

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Three members of the Chunghwa Telecom Workers Union raise their fists outside the Control Yuan after filing a complaint yesterday over alleged interference with a union meeting by company managers and government officials.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chunghwa Telecom Workers Union yesterday decided to back out of a strike planned to coincide with tomorrow's legislative election to avoid exacerbating its dispute with the nation's telecom regulator.

But the backdown did not mean that the union had reached agreement with the management over the state of retirement benefits after privatization, union head Simon Chang (張緒中) said.

"We will not go on strike or attack telecom facilities on Saturday. We don't want the public or the management to see us as being a mob," he said.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which owns a 65-percent stake in Chunghwa Telecom, suggested that union members were being irrational and had warned them on several occasions not to destroy equipment, Chang said.

But, the union had not given up on industrial action to press Chunghwa Telecom and the ministry to make concessions over terms on which employees would retire.

"We'll map out another strike," Chang said.

But the union said it is still hoping to resume talks after the elections rather than taking more drastic measures.

Last weekend, 17,356 of Chung-hwa Telecom's 25,000 employees voted to go on strike.

Separately, the union yesterday also called on the government to drop the proposal of taking the word "Chunghwa," or "China," from the names of state-owned enterprises, including Chunghwa Telecom.

"This name change will incur huge losses for Chunghwa Telecom. At the very least, it will hurt the brand equity Chunghwa Telecom has built in the past years," Chang said.

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