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ProMOS' downsizing may affect Oct. jobless rate

Memory chip-maker ProMOS' plan to lay off some 1,300 workers may affect October's jobless rate, although its real impact on unemployment remains to be seen, said the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday.

The agency made the remarks after the debt-ridden ProMOS revealed plans to let go 1,360 employees, or 80 percent of its total workforce.

The decision is part of a court-approved restructuring plan forced on the company by its creditors, according to the Central Taiwan Science Park, where some of the company's facilities are located.

The people laid off by ProMOS, which has accumulated NT$57 billion in debts, will include 1,200 employed at the science park beginning Oct. 19, park administrators said in a statement.

The downsizing may affect Taiwan's jobless rate for October, said DGBAS, which compiles the island's unemployment figures on a monthly basis.

Yet it said the real impact of the restructuring remains to be seen. “Only people who look for jobs but can't find one are listed as unemployed,” the agency said. “If they decide to take a break, or have already found another job, they are not unemployed.”

Separately, Nanya Technology, another memory chip manufacturer, is also considering plans to downsize its workforce, it said yesterday.

The firm is thinking about withdrawing from the PC memory sector completely and may be forced to restructure. The firm will first ask other units of the Formosa Plastics Group to accept employees left over from the restructuring, and then let go the rest, it said.

Downturn 'flu-like'

Meanwhile, Chu Ching-yi, chairman of the National Science Council, described the current slowdown as “flu-like.”

“It is strong, comes quickly and may last for a while,” he said during a Legislative Yuan hearing yesterday.

There were 190 employees on unpaid leave from companies in Taiwan's three science parks as of yesterday, an official with the NSC said.

Only two companies reported that they had sent workers on unpaid leave, said Tung Liang-shen of the NSC.

A biotech company in the Hsinchu Science Park in Northern Taiwan reported 92 workers on furlough, while Gloria Solar Co. in the Southern Taiwan Science Park said 98 if its employees had agreed to take unpaid leave, Tung said.

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