Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT staff fear for jobs amid layoff rumors

CASH SHORTAGE:Party statistics showed that the KMT has borrowed NT$140 million since Wu Den-yih became chairman to cover its personnel and administration costs

By Stacy Hsu and Shih Hsiao-kuang  /  Staff reporters

Following large-scale layoffs in January last year to streamline the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after it hit financial difficulties, rumors that the party is mulling another wave of redundancies have rekindled fears among party employees.

In January last year, months after the Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee became operational, the KMT laid off 738 staff, before rehiring 310 on new fixed-term contracts that are subject to annual renewal.

Just weeks before party workers’ contracts are set to expire, the party is planning another round of layoffs before next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, Chinese-language online news platform NOW News quoted an anonymous KMT cadre as saying in a report published on Wednesday last week

The party aims to further cut its personnel costs, which still stand at NT$20 million (US$677,438) each month, the party cadre said, adding that layoffs would be smaller in scale than the previous one, according to the report.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) was quick to dismiss the report.

A KMT official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that many party employees were worried about losing their jobs before the Lunar New Year holidays, when people generally incur higher expenses.

However, last year’s layoffs have left most local party chapters understaffed and the number of employees whose contracts would not be renewed at the end of the month should be low, the official said.

According to KMT statistics, most of the party’s assets have been frozen by the assets committee and party Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has borrowed NT$140 million since he assumed the chairmanship in August last year to pay the party’s monthly administrative and personnel costs, which total NT$30 million.

KMT headquarters has allegedly decided to cut off additional funding for its 22 local chapters starting next month and is reported to have asked them to raise funds by themselves.

Under KMT regulations, which were amended in August last year, party headquarters should only shoulder the salaries of high-ranking cadres at local chapters in addition to an additional monthly administrative allowance of between NT$120,000 and NT$180,000.

A KMT member, who also wished to remain anonymous, said that the original purpose of amending party charter in September 2016 to allow direct election of local chapter heads was to make the party’s local branches more financially independent and self-sufficient.

However, Wu instructed the party to continue paying for the chapters’ other expenses after the first batch of 10 directly elected chapter heads in October last year encountered difficulties raising funds.

“To stop borrowing money, KMT headquarters have decided to let all 22 local chapters share the burden,” the KMT member said.

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