Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT employee commits suicide

ECONOMIC WORRIES The man, who had worked for the KMT for 20 years, was apparently concerned that he would soon lose his job amid media reports of job cuts

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The woes of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT's) workers were brought to the forefront yesterday by news that a long-time employee had taken his own life on Tuesday night over job redundancy worries.

KMT employee Chen Wei-chieh (陳偉傑) committed suicide on Tuesday night, in a move that the KMT's Worker's Union yesterday said was a last cry to the party to heed the concerns of its workers.

According to media reports, Chen, who had worked at the KMT's Zhongshan district office in Taipei for the past 20 years, killed himself around 9:30pm on Tuesday by stabbing himself in the heart with a knife.

Although the motivation behind his suicide was not made known, the 46-year old Chen was reportedly worried about recent speculation that the KMT may fire over half of its employees after the Lunar New Year and mentioned this in his suicide note.

"We are very regretful that Wei-chieh chose to use such methods to end his life. The KMT needs to talk with its employees and give them some indication of what is going on, otherwise further tragedies might happen, given the pressure employees are under from worries that they might lose their jobs," said Liu Chien-sung (劉建崧), Director of the KMT's Workers' Union yesterday in a phone interview with the Taipei Times.

It has been reported by the media that, as part of its efforts to reform its party operations, the KMT has decided to dismiss all of its 1,700 party employees after the Lunar New Year in February, and plans to re-hire only 500 of them.

Alarmed by the news, the KMT's union issued pleas to the party's leadership on Dec. 27 and Dec. 30 last year for the party to enter negotiations with the union within the week.

Up until this point, however, Liu said, the party has not responded.

"As the nation's largest opposition party, it is shameful that the KMT should ignore the concerns of its employees and let them know of imminent changes only through the media," Liu said.

The KMT responsed to Chen's death yesterday.

While all are saddened by Chen's death, human resources efficiency is the future goal of the KMT, the party's deputy spokesperson, Kuo Su-chuen (郭素春), said yesterday.

The KMT will continue toward this goal, and will continue negotiations with the KMT union and party employees, Kuo said.

Later, on behalf of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), Liao Fung-teh (廖風德), who is director of the KMT's Organization Development Committee visited Chen's family and present them NT$100,000 as a gesture of sympathy.

Commenting on the party's tardiness in issuing its workers' paychecks over the last two months, Liao blamed the DPP government, saying it had blocked the KMT's economic resources during the legislative elections last month.

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