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Chen defends struggling state firms' bonuses

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Sean Chen said yesterday year-end bonuses for employees at money-losing state-run enterprises were justifiable, as the operating losses were not due to employees failing to work hard enough but due to government decisions.

Chen said he fully understood the public's frustration that employees at state-run companies which have lost money will be eligible to receive “relatively hefty” bonuses.

Chen made the remarks when asked by reporters to comment on year-end bonuses for employees at the money-losing state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan and Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), during his visit to the St. Teresa Children Center in Hsinchu County, northern Taipei yesterday morning.

The premier clarified that the losses incurred by CPC were mainly caused by the government's decision last year to freeze oil prices to ease the burden on the public, despite a rise in global crude oil costs.

He continued that the losses recorded by Taipower were not entirely its fault, as it absorbs part of the cost of power consumed by the disadvantaged, public schools and consumers on offshore islands. When some areas suffered typhoon-related blackouts, Taipower employees worked hard, often restoring power quickly, Chen added.

Not Approved Yet

Meanwhile, Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun denied media reports that the Executive Yuan has approved the results of evaluations submitted by the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) and that Taipower has received a secondary grading while CPC, Taiwan Water Corp. and Taiwan Sugar Corp. were given a first-rate score.

Cheng noted that the RDEC has completed the review and submitted it, but said Premier Chen has not approved the results.

Sung Yu-hsieh, head of the RDEC, declined to reveal the results of the evaluations, but said the commission respected the results submitted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Just one day earlier, the MOEA approved long-delayed 2011 year-end performance bonuses for employees at state-run enterprises, including companies that are in the red.

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Premier Sean Chen, right, visits the St. Teresa Children Center in Hsinchu County, yesterday morning. (CNA)

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