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Unions at Taiwan state-run steel company protest against appointment

Unions at Taiwan state-run steel company protest against appointment

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Union members at the China Steel Corporation clashed in Kaohsiung Thursday over the appointment of a new company president.
The unions say Tsou Jo-chi is an outsider foisted on them by the government and by CSC Chairman Chang Chia-juch, a former transportation minister.
During the lunch break Thursday, dozens of union members gathered outside a plant, holding up placards with the words “Against Parachuting.” They accused Chang of parachuting Tsou into the company presidency without consulting workers’ opinions and demanded the chairman’s resignation.
Tensions rose when a small group of management supporters appeared. Scuffles broke out but were soon contained, preventing further violence from erupting.
Incumbent president Y.C. Chen is due to retire at the end of the month, with Tsou appointed by the Executive Yuan to succeed him on February 1.
The president-designate worked at CSC for 20 years and left in 2002 after reaching the position of vice president for sales. According to company statutes, employees who retire from CSC with full benefits cannot return, protesters said, accusing Chang of breaking the steel group’s traditions.
The chairman completely neglected the steel giant’s corporate culture, evaded its rules and took no note of the feelings of employees, union leader Wu Shun-tsai told protesters Thursday.
He said he would ask all retired CSC workers to reapply for a job at the company in a gesture of protest. If Tsou was so good, then Chang should also make way and let the new appointee take over as chairman, Wu said.
In an open letter to workers Wednesday announcing the choice of president, Chang described Tsou as a professional and said he would bear full responsibility for all successes and failures resulting from the appointment. The chairman said that company statutes allowed for flexibility in the case of special circumstances.
Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said he could not intervene because CSC was no longer a state-run company. The appointment of a new president was made by the chairman, with the approval of the Executive Yuan and the company board to follow, he said. Chang had proposed only one candidate, Tsou, and the government was only interested in determining whether he was qualified for the job, Shih said.
According to company protocol, current Executive Vice President L.M. Chung should have been the logical choice to succeed Chen, also because of his financial expertise which could come in handy reducing CSC’s current debts of more than NT$150 billion, reports said. Chung reportedly helped the Taiwanese steel company earn more than NT$10 billion on a project with Sumitomo Heavy Metals in Japan.
Tsou on the contrary left a steel factory in China owned by Taiwan’s Walsin Lihwa Group after the plant posted less than impressive results, reports said.
As an important corporation which played a major role in the industrial development of the Kaohsiung region, CSC appointments of top managers have often had political repercussions.


Updated : 2021-10-20 02:55 GMT+08:00