Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) employees in Taichung yesterday filed a petition with the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), warning of possible layoffs as their employer is allegedly planning to outsource some of its operations to China.
"In January this year, employees overheard their superiors talking about moving some administrative departments to China, said Ho Yen-tang (何燕堂), spokesman for the Action Committee for Labor Legislation.
"Shortly after, employees received a notice that their particular departments might be terminated," Ho said.
Ho, a long-term labor rights activist, spoke on behalf of the Far EasTone employees.
In January, Far EasTone employees of a department in Tai-chung received a notice that their branch would be closed down in June. In March, they received notice to apply for transfers to other branches, while those who did not want to be transferred would face layoffs. The employees said they had talked about the issues with Far EasTone management numerous times, and the response they had been given was that the Taichung branch was to be closed. However, late Thursday night, some employees had received an e-mail from the Far EasTone stating that the department would remain open.
Ho told the Taipei Times yesterday that a special cross-strait business report appearing in the China Times on March 28 confirmed the employees' fears that Far EasTone planned to shift its service departments to China.
In the report, Far EasTone had established a call center in Shanghai as early as last year, due to the great availability of cheap labor for its customer service operations.
Outsourcing services to China jeopardizes the rights of Taiwanese workers, Ho said.
By moving its customer-service department to China, the personal information contained by the telecommunication company might be put at the risk. In addition, such a transfer of investments, especially when it comes to the telecommunications industry, might violate the provision in article 35 of the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), which prohibits the investment of certain products categories relating to high-technology.
The Central New Agency reported that Far EasTone officials said that adjustments were made to its Taichung collection department due to company restructuring, and some extra space was needed. Thus, the company had no intention to close down the department.
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