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Labor ministry to help in talks with Taiwan-based U.S. company

08/01/2023 11:24 PM
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Labor ministry official Chin Shih-ping receiving protester
Labor ministry official Chin Shih-ping receiving protester's petition on Tuesday in Taipei. CNA photo Aug. 1, 2023

Taipei, Aug. 1 (CNA) The Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Tuesday promised to help laid off workers in compensation negotiation with Chemours, a Taoyuan-based American chemicals company, following a protest outside the ministry in Taipei.

Chin Shih-ping (金士平), a labor ministry official who received the protesters' petition, said the MOL "strongly demands" that Chemours abide by Taiwan's labor laws and the agreement with its employees.

He also added that the ministry would listen to the advice of all sides as it looks at possible amendments to the Labor Standards Act and the Act for Worker Protection of Mass Redundancy.

On July 28, Chemours announced it would close its factory in Taoyuan's Guanyin District on Aug. 1 and lay off 259 employees from Sept. 30.

Negotiations between the two sides on compensation and severance pay broke down on Monday.

During Tuesday's protest, in addition to calling for the labor ministry's assistance in securing compensation from Chemours for the closure of the factory, members of the Chemours union and the Taoyuan Confederation of Trade Union requested amendments to related laws to protect workers against future abrupt shutdowns and large-scale layoffs by overseas companies.

In addition, the unions proposed that the labor ministry should also seek to amend current laws to require employers continue paying salaries until worker's contracts expire regardless of an employers' decision to shut down a factory.

They also urged the government to launch discussions on labor rights under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Chemours issued a statement on Tuesday that in addition to submitting its proposal to labor authorities in Taoyuan it also notified Taipei government's Department of Labor and will observe Taiwan's Labor Standards Act, promising to engage in sincere negotiation with the union.

In response, Chemours' union president Hung Tien-pao (洪天寶) said that after the failed negotiations on Monday the union held a meeting and a vote was taken in favor of taking strike action. As a result, if the company does not come up with a satisfactory solution by Thursday, deliveries of its products could stop pending further talks.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Chao Yen-hsiang)


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