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September 20, 2017

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Laid-off S. Korean workers protest in Taipei

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Employees of the South Korean company Hydis returned to their protest Monday, Nov. 28 outside the Yong Feng Yu (YFY) (永豐餘) company headquarters.

The Hydis Union demanded that YFY reverse its decision to close down the Hydis factory and rehire the employees that were let go as a result.

Currently, the severance package that was negotiated for the employees averaged NT$3 million per person. Negotiations were between the management team at Hydis and representatives of E Ink, the subsidiary of YFY that acquired Hydis in 2008, and spanned seven months.

Of the 377 employees that were let go as a result of the Hydid factory's closure, close to 300 employees accepted the severance package deal and were not involved in the protests.

The Hydis Union had previously filed cases of unlawful termination of employment against E Ink in 2015. However, both an initial decision and a decision after appeal by the Central Labor Committee in South Korea maintained that E Ink did not behave illegally in closing down the factory and letting the employees go.

A spokesperson for E Ink stated that given the US$230 million in losses that Hydis had ran up from 2008 to the end of 2014, it was not a smart business move to reopen the factory and its production lines.

E Ink emphasized that even after strategic attempts to turn the company around, Hydis simply was no longer competitive as a producer of LCD screens. The production lines were officially shut down on Mar. 31, 2015.

However, given that the remaining handful of employees refused to accept the severance package, which included opportunities for employment elsewhere, negotiations were inconclusive.

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