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Talk of the Day -- Taiwan's high-tech sector feels furlough heat

Talk of the Day -- Taiwan's high-tech sector feels furlough heat

Companies in Taiwan's high-tech sector have recently begun to either lay off employees or have them take furloughs in response to the global economic slump. Vice Premier Sean Chen confirmed Saturday that as of a day earlier, six companies in Taiwan had asked their workers to take furloughs to cope with sluggish demand. The issue of unpaid leave is particularly sensitive in Taiwan because the practice became widespread during the global financial crisis in late 2008 and the first half of 2009 and resulted in charges of abuse against several large employers. Though some companies have opted for unpaid leave schemes, Inventec Corp., a leading server ODM and notebook manufacturer, wants to lay off some of its staff. The company notified the Taipei City government in the past week that it would let go of 400 workers in early November because of a business slowdown and the ending of its contract with Hewlett-Packard to produce tablet computers for the U.S. brand. The following are excerpts from local media coverage on unpaid leave and layoffs: United Daily News: President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday in front of a gathering of executives from the Central Taiwan Science Park, "we have faced a financial crisis before.....We have the experience to deal with these kinds of difficulties." In light of the companies' layoff plans and unpaid leave issues, Ma said the government would ask companies that were still profitable to not initiate furlough schemes. As for employees of companies that did meet the threshold for instituting furloughs, Ma said the government would provide a "recharging" program for them that gave them on-the-job training and financial support. He also touted the fact that after Taiwan's signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China, it had signed an investment protection agreement with Japan in September and was negotiating trade pacts with Singapore and New Zealand. (Oct.30, 2011) China Times: Terry Gou, chairman of the Hon Hai Group, said Saturday that he felt it was unfair that companies were being harshly criticized by the public for asking their workers to take unpaid leave. He said it was unavoidable that industries or products had their ups and downs, noting that, "even Steve Jobs failed once and was kicked out of Apple before being hired back." Japan's lifetime-employment model was not necessarily a better choice, Gou said, based on his visit to a science park in Japan where the whole town's livelihood was dependent on a single company. The high similarity and lack of innovation within the science park eventually pushed the company out of the market, he said. On layoffs, Guo said, "isn't it great that those companies are letting their employees out on the market for my use?" He urged the public not to overly criticize companies for sending workers on unpaid leaves because it was a natural law of business. (Oct. 30, 2011) (By Ann Chen)


Updated : 2021-10-27 02:33 GMT+08:00