Pension payments owed to former Hualon Corp workers should be received by the end of the week, the Ministry of Labor said yesterday, following months of negotiations.
Department of Labor Relations Director Wang Hou-wei (王厚偉) said that workers should expect to have received the funds by tomorrow.
A total of NT$426.3 million (US$12.8 million) is to be issued to 711 workers, which means they receive 80 percent of the pension and severance payments owed to them by the corporation.
The funds were donated by Hualon’s creditor banks, which had been awarded the majority of the sale proceedings of one of the textile firm’s factories after it filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
Because of laws mandating legal precedence for debt held by the banks over obligations to workers, the banks were originally paid in full, with the remaining funds only sufficient to give each worker an average payout of NT$2,200.
While the details of the settlement were negotiated late last year, “actual payments were delayed because the banks had to gain board approval before sending the settlement funds to the ministry,” Wang said, adding that the final bank wires were only received last week.
Hualon Self-Help Organization secretary Hsu Jen-yuan (徐任遠) confirmed that on Tuesday workers signed the ministry’s payment plans, including the specific amount each worker is entitled to.
He said while the payments were originally scheduled for this year’s Chinese New Year festival, negotiations dragged on because of the need to confirm individual payout amounts owed, as well as controversy over how funds previously paid should be handled.
While some workers maintained that they should receive 80 percent of the amount still owed, it was agreed that they would receive 80 percent of total legal pension and severance obligations.
Workers are to drop a lawsuit to recover funds owed to them and the banks are to also withdraw their lawsuit as a condition of their donation, Hsu said.
Workers were unwilling to drop the suit until they received a written guarantee that they would be paid.
Further payments to workers are possible from the auction of Hualon assets following the passage of an amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) that increased the precedence of pension and severance obligations during bankruptcy proceedings.
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