Worker’s Democratic Monitor on ECFA
Ban the “Early Weak” Business to Invest in China!

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Just before the announcement of the “early harvest list” in March as the prelude of ECFA which would be signed later this year, more than 100 workers from YFOTU, NAFITU and other labor organization in Taiwan march to the Executive Yuan and demand to announce the “early weak business blacklist” and to add an article in ECFA: ban the businesses which exploit the workers to invest in China and other countries!”.

Young Fast Optoelectronics (hereinafter referred as YFO) in Taoyuan County is the biggest touch panel manufacturer in the world, its major orders are from HTC, Samsung, LG and other world-known big brands. YFO, who has around 1,000 workers in Taiwan and around 3,000 in China and Vietnam, has once rushed to over NT$500 (approximately $15.68) per share in the stock market, operating margins NT$4.925 billion (approximately $154.48 million) and NT$22.53 (approximately $0.7) full-year earnings per share in the year of 2009. Because of the tremendous earnings, the board of YFO agree for NT10 ($0.31) per share cash dividend which amounting to NT1.33 billion ($41.718 million) in the same year.

Beyond the stunning profit and the luxury “pride of Taiwan” mobile phones is a miserable labor condition. YFO calculate the overtime illegally and pay less overtime for several thousands NT dollars per month for every worker, so the workers in YFO work overtime for more than 100 hours and earn only roughly NT30,000 ($941) per month. YSO is also suspected to lower the amount of labor and health insurance and hire a large amount of migrant workers and child labor younger than 16 in the name of interns”.

The workers in YFO could no longer stand it and established a trade union on December, 2009, but YFO sabotaged the union by transferring a production line to China and dismissed 5 union cadres (2 executive board member, 2 board member, and 1 auditor) and more than 10 members altogether. It is a severe anti-worker, anti-union unfair labor practice and violation to the labor laws which undermines the rights to organize of the workers.

It is evident that YFO has so many orders that the workers have to work for long overtime extensively, and that YFO hires large numbers of migrant workers, dispatched workers and inters, it is so daring that YFO could layoff the cadres and members in the excuse of “the business suffers an operating loss or contraction;a change in business nature requires a reduction of workers and the particular workers cannot be assigned to another suitable position; and a particular worker is clearly not able to perform satisfactorily the duties required of the position held.” It is surely a blatant disregard to Taiwan's labor laws and government authority!

How would such a company which see the laws as nothing obey the laws when it invest in other countries? Just take the tragedy of Liu Hanhuang who suffered from occupational injury before he killed two Taiwanese businessmen as an example: the illegal Taiwan business investing abroad would not only shame the people in Taiwan, it would also ruin the cross-strait relations and produce social problems and tragedies abroad. President Ma has been encouraging the people to accept the signing of ECFA, but would he be happy to see the anti-union companies running to China freely as a result of ECFA? Taiwan government would announce the “early harvest list”, the labor groups state: those bad businesses who save the budget by exploit the workers and sabotage the unions is unqualified to corporate social responsibilities and shall be eliminated in the modern society. The government shall announce a “blacklist of the early weak corporations” instead and forbid these companies from investing abroad before the abovementioned illegalities be removed, thus not to shame the people in Taiwan on one hand, and force these corporations to improve the labor conditions and respect the workers and unions in Taiwan on the other. Only by this, when ECFA was signed, the labor condition in Taiwan would not be doomed to be in the “race to the bottom” of labor conditions that has haunted trade unions all around the world

While President Ma calls the people to support ECFA and fight for the economy, more than 100 workers from the National Alliance Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU) and the Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union (YFOTU) march to the Executive Yuan and demand:

1. Democratic monitor of ECFA by the workers: the illegal companies who exploit the workers shall be banned to invest abroad, and the justice system shall help to take back the loss of rights and welfares of the workers of both sides of the strait.

2. Building a cross-ministry committee: reinstate all the workers who were dismissed illegally and sanction the bad companies!

Time: 10:oo am, March 29, 2010 (Monday) Venue: Front door of the Executive Yuan (No. 1, Sec. 1. Zhong-Shan North Road, Taipei)

International Press Contact: Weili Chu, Executive Officer, NAFITU: 0981-238732, Ying-Dah Wong, YFOTU Supporting Alliance: 0933-908994

United Action Organizations: National Alliance Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU), Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union (YFOTU), Solidarity, Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Unions, Taipei City Confederation of Trade Unions, Kaohsiung County Confederation of Trade Unions, Tainan Confederation of Trade Unions, Hsinchu Confederation of Trade Unions, Taiwan Federation of Textile Trade Unions, Federation of Formosa Trade Unions, (adding in progress).