Alexa

Anger over bonuses for ailing state-run firms understandable: premier

Anger over bonuses for ailing state-run firms understandable: premier

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen said Saturday that he understood the public's anger over what he described as "hefty" year-end bonuses for workers at money-losing state-run firms, but said the payments were justifiable. Chen said he fully understood the public's reaction when employees at state-run companies that have lost money were able to receive "relatively hefty" bonuses.
But Chen said the losses incurred by the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp. were due to the government's decision last year to freeze oil prices to alleviate the burden on the public, despite a rise in global fuel costs. And he said the losses at state-run Taipei Power Company (Taipower) were not entirely its fault, adding that the employees there were hardworking and often able to quickly restore power in blackouts. On Friday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) approved long-delayed year-end performance bonuses for 2011 for employees at state-run enterprises, including companies that are in the red. According to the MOEA, workers at state-run oil company CPC Corp., Taiwan (CPC), which ran a deficit of NT$74 billion (US$2.55 billion) in 2011, will now get a bonus worth 2.6 months of their regular salaries. Taipower, which lost NT$68 billion, and Taiwan Water Corp., which lost NT$367 million, will pay their employees annual bonuses of 1.65 months and 1.46 months of their salary, respectively. Meanwhile, employees at Taiwan Sugar Corp., which ran a profit of NT$5.5 billion, and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp., which earned NT$1.1 billion in 2011, will get bonuses of 1.88 months and 1.31 months of salary, respectively, an economic official said. In addition to the annual bonuses, if the companies receive a top-notch year-end evaluation from the Executive Yuan, the workers will receive an additional bonus of up to two months of salary. Workers at companies that receive a secondary grading from the Executive Yuan will receive an extra bonus of up to 1.8 months of salary. The year-end evaluation is first compiled by the companies themselves, before their supervisory body, the MOEA, conducts the review. The review will then be submitted to the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) under the Executive Yuan for another round of evaluations before the premier approves the findings. Chen said Taipower provides subsidies to the disadvantaged and public schools, and should not be blamed for part of the company's financial loss. He said the RDEC will evaluate the power company by taking into consideration the extra burden it takes on. The premier also said Taipower employees are "all hard-working people" and that in the case of power shutdowns during typhoons, they repaired and resumed power supply very quickly, compared to some areas in the United States that suffered blackouts for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit. Also on Saturday, Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun dismissed media reports that said the Executive Yuan has approved the results of evaluations submitted by the RDEC and that Taipower has received a secondary grading while CPC, Taiwan Water Corp. and Taiwan Sugar Corp. were given the first-rate score. Cheng admitted that the RDEC has completed the review and submitted it, but said Chen has not approved the results. Sung Yu-hsieh, who leads the RDEC, declined to reveal the results of the evaluations, but said the commission basically respected the results submitted by the MOEA. (By Lin Jui-i, Hsieh Chia-chen and Jamie Wang)