Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Ex-Wintek employees cry foul

LAID OFF, SNUBBEDThe electronics firm may have failed to meet all regulations when it laid off workers, a CLA official said, promising to help the employees make their case

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dozens of former Wintek Corporation employees laid off in December because of the economic crisis staged a demonstration outside the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday, asking the council to help them get their jobs back as the company recruits new workers amid rush orders.

“Wintek laid off employees — some of whom were very close to qualifying for retirement pension — based on the fact that they were suffering severe losses from the economic crisis,” said Chu Wei-li (朱維立) of the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU), which helped organize the protest. “Now that they’re experiencing booming business because of rush orders, they did nothing to protect these old employees.”

He said that rather than hire back the laid-off workers, Wintek was recruiting new ones.

Wintek produces parts for various electronic products such as cellphones, personal data assistants, notebook computers and flat panel displays. Last year, the company announced layoffs after suffering what it called a “record high loss in one quarter” — NT$1.7 billion (US$50 million) — during the fourth quarter.

However, because of rush orders, the company’s business has improved substantially since the beginning of this year.

The company’s latest financial statement showed that, its gross sales revenue last month had reached more than NT$2 billion, a 14.57 percent growth over February’s sales.

A former Wintek employee surnamed Cheng (鄭), who had worked at the company for almost 15 years, said she would have qualified for retirement pension of more than NT$1 million by March 16 had she not been fired.

“But now I have nothing. I’m old, so it’s not likely I will be able to find a job anytime soon,” Cheng said.

“The Wintek case is not isolated — this is a strategy that many businesses are taking to meet growing demand amid rush orders,” NAFITU chairman Chen Te-liang (陳德亮) said. “They’re doing so because they don’t have to take care of labor and health insurance or retirement pension for seasonal workers.”

“This is wrong. The company keeps all the profit when it’s making money, but it’s the employees that face the consequences when business goes bad,” Chen said.

CLA official Wang Hou-wei (王厚偉) said Wintek may have failed to follow legal procedures in laying off its workers and promised to help.

Wintek, however, said it had fulfilled its legal requirement in notifying former employees of the layoff in advance and paying them up to their last day at work.

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