The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) labor union yesterday criticized the company’s decision to freeze pay raises for workers this year, saying that salaries for management should be frozen as well.
The company had explained its reasons for the freeze in an internal memo issued on Wednesday evening.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the global economy, and the transport business and tourism industry are expected to be hit the hardest by the outbreak,” the company said. “Many transport and travel service operators have been forced to suspend business, reduce employees’ salaries, lay off employees and decrease workers’ hours to stay afloat in this difficult time.”
Revenue has been lower than expected, the company said, adding that it is requesting bailout funds from the government, in addition to reducing train services and finding ways to lower operating costs and bring in additional income.
Its plan to give employees a 3.42 percent raise this year needed to be postponed given the current economic situation, the company said, adding that raises would be given once the coronavirus is contained and stable revenue resumes.
The measure is needed to sustain operations and ensure long-term benefits for all stakeholders, it added.
The union said that it understands that the company froze salary increases to control operational costs, but the decision demoralizes employees and makes them question management.
The decision ignored that employees have willingly worked extra hours and sacrificed holidays to comply with the government’s disease-prevention measures, even though workers risk contracting COVID-19 when serving passengers, the union added.
“We want to tell management that they should not keep telling rank-and-file employees to endure this difficult time, and use public opinion and moral arguments as an excuse for not giving workers a raise,” the union said. “They should eliminate unnecessary costs from maintenance, operations and marketing, and also evaluate the salaries for management.”
The company should offer a detailed explanation of its decision and fulfill its promise to its employees, the union added.
The company said that it has raised employee salaries four times since 2015, adding that it made the pledge to increase salaries when revenue and passenger volume set records last year.
However, when it made the pledge — on Oct. 25 last year — it could not possibly foresee that operations would be severely disrupted by the coronavirus, it said.
The company’s pretax surplus last month was NT$65.16 million (US$2.15 million), down 93.62 percent from January, while operating profit was NT$557 million, down 71.27 percent from a year earlier, a company financial statement showed.
It was the lowest monthly profit since it began making a profit in October 2015, the company added.
Industry analysts have said that people are less willing to travel due to the pandemic and have become more cautious about being in public transport’s closed spaces.
The virus’ effects are already apparent in the company’s January and last month financial statements, they said, adding that the situation is likely to worsen this month.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin