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Company denies charges of abusing Filipino workers

2012/05/07 23:51:46

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Taiwan Glass Industry Corp. on Monday took issue with accusations that it was abusing its Filipino workers, saying that some of the charges were exaggerated and thus unacceptable.

The company acknowledged that there was room for improvement in its working conditions, but it could not accept some of the accusations because they were overstated.

The company said it was unacceptable that the accusations painted its operations as worse than a sweatshop.

Among the charges it felt were exaggerated were claims by the workers that they were underfed, did not have access to hot showers in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer and were forced to work in temperatures reaching as high as 60 degrees Celsius.

Hot showers and air-conditioning in employee dormitories are available around the clock throughout the year, and workers are given three meals a day, according to the company.

Although some parts of its production facility are exposed to high temperatures, those areas are equipped with air conditioning to keep the heat down, the company added.

Responding to speculation that a recent death of a Filipino worker, named Michael, might have had been related to the factory's harsh environment, Taiwan Glass said its initial findings were not consistent with that conclusion.

The company said it contacted the Council of Labor Affairs and the local police station after Michael was found unconscious in his dorm room on April 16. He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

A preliminary investigation by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office ruled out overwork as the cause of death, it added.

A report on the actual cause of death is still pending after a coroner performed an autopsy on Michael on April 24, it added.

The company said in a statement that since it was established 47 years ago and started hiring foreign workers in 1993, the company has treated all employees, domestic or foreign, properly and equally.

Earlier Monday, more than 10 Filipino workers from the company's factory in Gueishan, Taoyuan County, told a press conference that they have been abused by the company and forced to work eight to 12 hours per day in harsh conditions.

They also accused the company of holding on to their passports, not paying them extra for working overtime, and not giving them pay slips with information in their own language.

(By Han Ting-ting and Jamie Wang)