The Taipei Department of Labor yesterday said that it had fined technological firm E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技) a total of NT$1.5 million (US$45,946) for hiring foreign factory workers and illegally using them as house servants for the firm’s executive staff.
Department Commissioner Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) said that the firm was handed the maximum fine stipulated in Article 57 of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法).
Lai said that the department found out about the violation after Taoyuan-based non-governmental organization Serve the People Association reported the incident.
She said that two Filipino’s working in the Yuanta I-Pin luxury housing building for E Ink general manager Lee Cheng-hau (李政昊), told department officials who were conducting inspection work at the building’s gates that they would “go inside to get some luggage” and brought out a third Filipino worker.
One of the workers had reportedly worked for Lee’s father-in-law, Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) president Ho Show-chung (何壽川), under Lee’s command, department officials said.
Bank SinoPac is E Ink’s parent company.
Quoting the workers’ testimony, Lai said that Lee allegedly deprived the workers of sustenance while he and his family were traveling abroad and that they barely survived.
Lee allegedly limited the workers access to their bank accounts and they had no money to buy food, Lai said.
Lai said the company is listed on the local bourse with a net value of more than NT$10 billion, and criticized Lee for using his influence to exploit foreign workers for his personal comfort.
“Is it possible that someone who lives in a house worth NT$200 million to NT$300 million is unable to afford Taiwanese housekeepers or to hire foreign servants by legal means?” she asked.
The violation shows that the firm had used boosting the nation’s economic development as a pretext to satisfy the needs of its high ranking staff, Lai said.
Lai said that Lee had illegally employed the workers for three years, and if similar incidents kept recurring, it would mean that a loophole had emerged in the nation’s system of employing foreign factory workers.
She said that a penalty stipulated in the act would cut twice as many workers E Ink hired from its quota to enlist foreign workers, meaning only six foreigners would be cut from its payroll.
The department would make an appeal to the Ministry of Labor to revoke the firm’s right to hire foreign workers over its infractions of both the act and the Criminal Code for its dishonest use of foreign workers, adding that this would force them to hire local labor, thereby increasing job opportunities for Taiwanese.
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