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Troubled flat panel firm pays 40% of August wages to migrant workers

2019/09/13 14:03:31

Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. / image taken from google.com/maps

Taipei, Sept. 13 (CNA) Financially troubled flat panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. paid only 40 percent of August salaries to its migrant workers due to insufficient funds, the company said in an announcement posted on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Thursday.

As for its Taiwanese employees, the company said it paid about 55 percent of August salaries to those who make less than NT$50,000 a month, 15 percent to those who earn NT$50,000-NT$70,000 a month and 10 percent to those who are paid more than NT$70,000 a month.

However, section chiefs and higher ranking officials received no pay for August, the company added.

Chunghwa Picture Tubes, a subsidiary of conglomerate Tatung Co., announced in late August that it would layoff all 2,100 employees working on its sixth-generation screen production lines, a decision that will take effect in 60 days due to years of financial difficulties.

The layoffs came after 2,500 employees including migrant workers were made redundant from its fourth-generation production lines in March. The flat panel industry has encountered problems recently due to a supply glut, and smaller-sized suppliers such as Chunghwa Picture Tubes have come under tremendous financial pressure.

Before the latest layoff announcement, the flat panel maker had about 200 migrant workers.

On Aug. 31, those migrant workers were forced to vacate their dormitories and find somewhere else to stay after their employer failed to pay its electricity bills. As this is a violation of the company's legal responsibility to take care of its migrant workers, the Taoyuan-headquartered flat panel maker now faces a fine of up to NT$300,000 (US$9,615).

In the announcement, Chunghwa Picture Tubes said it will continue to dispose of its assets to pay the money owed to employees, including salaries, severance pay and pensions.

The company said it has hired financial advisors to carry out the asset disposal and secure the funds needed for debt repayment.

The website of the TWSE indicates Chunghwa Picture Tubes has NT$39.31 billion in debt and owns NT$23.54 billion in assets with its book value per share at minus NT$2.44 as of the second quarter of 2019, compared with positive NT$1.84 in book value per share a year earlier.

Due to its financial burden, Chunghwa Picture Tubes was delisted from the TWSE in May after launching an initial public offering on the main board in September 2001.

According to the local media, as of early September, about 65 percent of Chunghwa Picture Tubes migrant workers have found new jobs in Taiwan, and their new employers include Innolux Corp., a large-sized local flat panel maker.

Chunghwa Picture Tubes's financial troubles are not the only bad news for Tatung. Green Energy Technology Inc., a debt-ridden multicrystalline solar wafer subsidiary, is in the process of being liquidated.

The loss-incurring solar energy company was delisted from the local over-the-counter stock market in May due to its heavy financial burden.

(By Pan Chih-yi and Frances Huang)
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