CORONAVIRUS/ASE Group's migrant worker policy 'follows CECC rules': ministry

06/13/2021 01:51 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) The decision by Taiwanese company ASE Group to order its migrant workers to move from private rented accommodation into company dormitories follows Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) regulations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Saturday.

The "temporary measures" adopted by IC packaging and testing company ASE Group "are in accordance with epidemic prevention requirements set by the CECC," a statement released by the MOEA's Industrial Development Bureau read.

By stepping up regulation of worker accommodation, the company hopes to prevent more migrant workers from contracting COVID-19, the statement said.

The statement did not specify which CECC requirements it was following. A set of guidelines on how companies should operate during a COVID-19 outbreak, released by the CECC in late March, does not mention dormitory management.

Guidelines issued by the Industrial Development Bureau on June 7 state that companies operating assembly lines should divide workers into groups. Different groups should use different restrooms, locker rooms, and shuttle buses, and those in the same group should live in the same dormitories or buildings, if such accommodation is provided by the company.

When asked to comment, an ASE spokesperson declined to elaborate on the company's policy and referred CNA to the bureau's statement.

The statement came after the British newspaper The Guardian published a story Friday on how ASE told migrant workers at its plant in Chungli District, Taoyuan, that those living in private rented accommodation must move back to company dormitories immediately or face a "major demerit."

Three such demerits are punishable by dismissal, The Guardian's report said.

ASE employees told The Guardian that they share bathroom facilities with workers on different shifts or workers from other companies at company dormitories, and believe that forcing them to live in the dormitories puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than if they stayed in their own homes and practiced social distancing.

ASE confirmed one COVID-19 case at its Zhongli factory on May 27, which the company said at the time had not affected its operations.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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