Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

CLA delivers first ruling for violation of new laws

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) on Wednesday reprimanded a company for violating new labor laws, saying the company had twisted the law in an attempt to influence the operation of its labor union.

The CLA has yet to decide whether to issue fines.

Three new labor laws — the Labor Union Act (新工會法), Collective Agreement Act (團體協約法) and Settlement of Labor Disputes Act (勞資爭議處理法), which all took effect on May 1 — allow the council to set up a mechanism to help solve disputes between employers and employees. Before the laws were put into practice, workers would have to follow lengthy legal procedures if they had a dispute with their employers.

Rulings by a CLA -committee have the legal force of a civil verdict.

Council official Liu Chuan-min (劉傳名) said the first ruling was issued to a local company on Aug. 10. Liu refused to confirm whether the company was Tatung Co, a household appliance maker, even if the media has discussed the case at length, so as not to violate related laws.

He said the CLA on May 2 received a complaint filed by a labor union at the company, which accused the firm of not collecting fees for the union.

Companies in Taiwan can help collect union membership fees by deducting them directly from employee wages. An article in the Labor Union Act stipulates that the deduction can only be made with the agreement of employees.

The union told the council the company had twice insisted on -obtaining approval from all union members, before agreeing to help collect the fees starting in May.

Liu said that the article is aimed at legalizing the deduction and protecting the rights of employees.

In this case, the company has helped collect the fees for the past 40 years and it should not use the new laws as an excuse to stop doing so, Liu said.

The CLA has asked the company to submit a report on whether it still collects membership fees for the union.

If the company fails to provide a report, it could be fined up to NT$300,000.

Tatung said on Wednesday that it has long supported the operation of labor unions at the company. It said that there are some differences in interpreting the new laws. However, it said it respected the council’s decision.

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