Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday said that he understood the public’s anger over what he described as “hefty” year-end bonuses for workers at money-losing state-run firms, but said the payments were justifiable.
Chen said that the losses that were incurred by the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) were due to the government’s decision last year to freeze oil prices to alleviate the burden on the public, despite a rise in global fuel costs.
He also said the losses at state-run Taipei Power Co (Taipower) were not entirely its fault, adding that the employees there were hardworking and often able to quickly restore power during blackouts.
On Friday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs approved long-delayed year-end performance bonuses for this year for employees at state-run enterprises, including companies that are in the red.
According to the ministry, workers at state-run oil company CPC, which ran an accumlated deficit of NT$74 billion (US$2.55 billion) last year, will now get a bonus of 2.6 times the employee’s monthly salaries.
Taipower, which lost NT$68 billion, and Taiwan Water Corp, which lost NT$367 million, will pay their employees annual bonuses of 1.65 and 1.46 times their monthly salaries respectively.
Meanwhile, employees at Taiwan Sugar Corp, which ran a profit of NT$5.5 billion, and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, which earned NT$1.1 billion last year, will get bonuses of 1.88 and 1.31 times their monthly salary respectively, a ministry official said.
In addition to the annual bonuses, if the companies receive a top-notch year-end evaluation from the Executive Yuan, the workers will receive an additional bonus of up to two months of salary.
Workers at companies that receive a secondary grading from the Executive Yuan will receive an extra bonus of up to 1.8 months’ salary.
The year-end evaluation is first compiled by the companies themselves, before the ministry conducts the review.
The review is then submitted to the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) under the Executive Yuan for another round of evaluations before the premier approves the findings.
Chen said Taipower provides subsidies to the disadvantaged and public schools, and should not be blamed for all of its losses.
He said the commission will evaluate the power company by taking into consideration the extra burden it takes on.
The premier also said Taipower employees are “all hard-working people” and that in the case of power outages during typhoons, they repaired and resumed the power supply very quickly, compared with some areas in the US that suffered blackouts for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit.
Also yesterday, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) dismissed media reports that said the Executive Yuan has approved the results of evaluations submitted by the RDEC and that Taipower has received a secondary grading while CPC, Taiwan Water Corp and Taiwan Sugar Corp were all given first-rate scores.
Cheng said that the RDEC had completed the review and submitted it, but said Chen had not approved the results.
Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Minister Sung Yu-hsieh (宋餘俠) declined to reveal the results of the evaluations, but said the commission respected the results submitted by the ministry.