Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Hydis protesters say farewell, but vow to be back

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

A farewell ceremony for the fourth wave of protesters from South Korea’s Hydis Technologies was held yesterday, as the protesters returned to their country to regroup after being blacklisted by the National Immigration Agency.

A heated labor dispute has raged since January after mass layoffs of Hydis workers were announced by Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, which owns the plasma display maker. E Ink — a leading e-paper display supplier — is affiliated with the Yuen Foong Yu Group.

Following E Ink’s decision, waves of Hydis union activists have come to Taiwan to protest the layoffs with the assistance of local labor activists, camping at the intersection of Xinyi and Lishui roads near a branch office of Bank SinoPac, another member of the Yuen Foong Yu Group.

Activists presented a regular weekly report on the progress of negotiations between the union and corporation before leading several protest dances, repeatedly shouting “cancel the closings” and “cancel the layoffs” in Chinese and Korean. They also showed a brief documentary showing photographs collected over the past two months.

“We’re very grateful — you’re beautiful and it is because of your support that we’ve been able to make it this far,” Hydis activist representative Lee Sun-hee said through an interpreter.

The activists promised to organize further waves of protests until their demands were met.

The protesters’ withdrawal comes after the blacklisting of their membership by the National Immigration Agency has prevented them from rotating in and out of the country.

The agency’s decision has been controversial, with the agency claiming that the activists have engaged in actions contrary to their stated purpose for entering the country, even as local labor activists have maintained that foreigners have a legal right to participate in protests.

Supporting labor groups held a protest outside the Ministry of the Interior earlier this week over its failure to address their petition to overturn a deportation order on several Hydis representatives in June.

While the activists were deported directly after being charged with violating ordinances against hanging banners, the charges were later overturned in court.

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