Retired Hualon Group employees who say they are owed retirement payouts by the company yesterday were involved in several protests in Taipei and began an overnight demonstration in the lobby of Taipei Railway Station, saying they would continue their actions today.
“You see Taiwan, but do you see the laborers?” members of the Hualon Self-Help Organization shouted at a press conference held jointly by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and director of the film Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣) Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) following a special screening of the documentary.
The protesters shouted the slogan in reference to the Chinese title of the documentary, part of which literally means “seeing Taiwan.”
The protesters were not removed by force immediately, instead, Jiang, who was interrupted, stopped and listened to them, and asked his assistant to take the petition from some women who were speaking about their situation.
Later when Jiang was about to leave the theater after watching the documentary, National Tsing Hua University student Sun Chih-yu (孫致宇), who was with the labor group, threw a pair of red and white slippers, but the shoes all missed the premier.
Earlier yesterday, more than 100 former Hualon employees also demonstrated outside the Control Yuan and the Executive Yuan buildings, asking for help from the government.
“I’ve worked for 31 years at Hualon, but I didn’t get a penny of my retirement payout,” 65-year-old Chang Chiu-shun (張秋順) said during a demonstration outside the Executive Yuan building in front of a line of police shields. “We’re not asking the government to pay us, we’re merely asking it to help us pursue our bosses to give us our money.”
Chang said she began to work for Hualon in 1978 and retired in 2009 and though she is entitled to a NT$1.3 million (US$44,000) retirement payout, the company said that it is out of cash and promised to repay the debt within three years.
However, the promise has never been fulfilled, she said.
“We’ve worked so hard and paid so many taxes to the government, I don’t understand why is it not willing to help us” she said.
Lee Tsui-ming (李翠明), president of the self-help organization, said that to protect the interests of employees at Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co, which is now under investigation for allegedly adulterating its edible oil, the Changhua County Government has made efforts to seize some of the company’s property.
“If the county government is prepared to go this far to protect workers’ rights, why can’t the Council of Labor Affairs do the same?” Lee said.
The protesters planned to stay overnight in the lobby of Taipei Railway Station, and to stage another protest outside Hualon’s headquarters in Taipei at 7:30am today.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan