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September 23, 2017

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Hualon workers protest over pensions

The China Post--Some 200 workers of Hualon Textile Corp.'s Toufen factory traveled to Taipei and staged a demonstration in front of the Executive Yuan yesterday, demanding the government step in to help them receive their pensions and salaries from the company.

These workers were to spend the night in front of Taipei Main Station and in the morning march to the home of Wong Da-ming (翁大銘), who they claim is responsible for their non-payment.

Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) deputy section chief Wang Hou-wei (王厚偉) said that the CLA would help Hualon workers to obtain at least half of their pensions in cash, as well as secure the legal right to claim the rest of their pensions.

Wang also promised that he would push the legal department of the government to exert as much pressure on Hualon's owners as possible and make them pay the highest possible penalties.

The deputy section chief stated that the government would try to extradite Wong You-ming (翁有銘), Wong Da-ming's younger brother, who is reportedly in Malaysia and has established Hualon textile factories in that country as well as Vietnam, Czech Republic and Japan. He is also alleged to have moved assets from factories in Taiwan to the firm's overseas locations.

The protest comes after Hualon failed to honor a commitment made in arbitration talks convened by the Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) on June 13 to pay salaries of May for these workers before June 20. The workers, who were on strike, broke into the company on June 21 to demand answers from company owners, but failed to make any headway.

The Miaoli government said yesterday that they would fine those in charge at Hualon for not abiding by the decision made during arbitration.

Workers' Rights in Peril

Since the company filed bankruptcy, workers are not likely to get the money they are entitled to as the funds would first need to go to the government and banks after Hualon's liquidation, according to senior union member Chiang Chien-lung (江建龍).

"It is not fair for banks to get their money back while workers cannot," said Chiang. "Banks should be responsible for their own decision to lend so much money to a company that suffers losses."

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