Wed, May 27, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Hydis union stages third Taipei protest over factory layoffs

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Union representatives from South Korea’s Hydis Technologies Co Ltd yesterday gathered outside the Yuen Foong Yu Group (YFY) building on their latest visit to Taipei to protest the dismissal of more than 300 workers from a factory in Icheon, South Korea.

The representatives were accompanied by Lee Mi-ra, widow of former Hydis union leader Bae Jae-hyoung, who committed suicide earlier this month after reportedly receiving legal threats from Hydis management over criminal and civil charges.

Hydis was acquired in 2008 by Taiwanese e-paper manufacturer E Ink Holdings Inc, a unit of YFY.

Lee, carrying a portrait of Bae, said through an interpreter as she wept: “All I want is the truth about how this company could threaten my husband to the point that he was unwilling to go on living.”

The protesters demanded that Hydis accept some responsibility for Bae’s death and provide compensation to his family.

Dressed in funeral robes, the South Korean workers marched from the YFY building to the residence of YFY chairman Ho Shou-chuan (何壽川), where they set up a memorial for Bae.

However, the workers were not unopposed, as a statement issued by a group claiming to be the “Yuen Foong Yu Union” expressed support for the shutdowns, urging the protesters to stop “spreading misinformation” and return home immediately.

While many YFY Group subsidiaries have registered unions, Chung Fu-ji (鍾馥吉), president of the employees’ union at Sinopac Bank — a YFY affiliate — said he was unaware of the existence of a union for the entire YFY Group.

“I think a real labor union would never do something like this,” Chung said, adding that he empathized with Bae over the pressure he endured as a union leader.

E-Ink executive Lloyd Chen (陳樂群) rejected claims legal threats had been made to Bae before his death and blasted the protesters for their “extreme and irrational” behavior.

Additional reporting by CNA

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