Accused of unfairly protecting Young Fast Optoelectronics Co amid allegations the firm had laid off Taiwanese workers so it could replace them with cheaper foreign labor, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday said it was still investigating the matter.
The electronics manufacturer, a key supplier of touch-screen components for HTC Corp and Samsung Electronics, has been under investigation in recent months for various cases of reported labor violations, such as replacing domestic workers with migrant workers who are paid well below normal salary levels for Taiwanese.
Young Fast union members, labor activists and Democratic Progressive Party legislators Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) and Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) alleged that the company laid off 18 local workers in March, only to recruit 73 foreigners.
This “suspicious activity,” they said, seemed to conceal a program to hire cheaper Chinese workers to replace Taiwanese workers.
The labor union also said that even though the council had temporarily imposed a freeze on Young Fast’s hiring of foreign workers following the revelations, the council continued to issue permits allowing Young Fast to hire foreigners.
“Do we need a council that only believes Young Fast’s side of the story and does nothing to protect Taiwanese workers?” Young Fast labor union secretary-general Tu Kuang-yu (杜光宇) asked.
The union said many workers were forced or tricked into signing agreements indicating they agreed to terminate their contracts so the company could hide its labor violations from the council.
In response, the council said that as the case was still under investigation, it was not yet clear whether Young Fast had violated labor regulations, including providing false records of employee contract terminations.
However, if the company was found to have violated regulations, the council would revoke its permit to hire nearly 100 foreign workers over the next two years, the council said.
Young Fast is no stranger to workforce-related controversies.
Last month, the company was accused of bringing groups of 20 employees from its Chinese factories to work 12-hour shifts at a manufacturing center in Taoyuan County under the guise of “professional training.” Under current law, Chinese nationals are barred from working in Taiwan.