Thai worker deaths in Taoyuan fire classed as occupation-related

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Two Thai workers and six firefighters eventually died due to the fire at Chin Poon in Taoyuan.

Two Thai workers and six firefighters eventually died due to the fire at Chin Poon in Taoyuan. (By Central News Agency)

Taipei (CNA) - The deaths of two Thai migrant workers in a fire at an electronics factory in Taoyuan City on April 28 have been classified as work-related fatalities, which will allow their families to claim death compensation equal to 45 months of their average wage, the city government said Thursday.

The fire that broke out at a factory owned by Chin Poon Industrial Co. claimed the lives of six firemen and the two workers.

The city's labor inspection office has now designated the deaths of the Thai workers as workplace fatalities and the labor department held an explanatory meeting on Wednesday for their families at Thailand's representative office in Taipei to help them apply for compensation, the city government said in a statement.

According to Taiwan's Labor Standards Act, when a worker dies from an injury or disease directly attributable to their occupation, his/her employer is required to make a funeral payment equal to five months of average wage and a lump sum as survivors compensation equal to 40 months of average wage to his/her family.

The Ministry of Labor will also make a condolence payment of NT$100,000 (US$3,352) to the bereaved families.

The city government sent staff to Chin Poon May 2 and May 3 to gain an understanding of employees' work rights after the factory suspended business operations, according to a city labor affairs official.

The company held an explanation meeting for employees, to solicit their opinions on issues such as work transfers, severance payments and retirement, the official said, adding that the labor department will keep a close eye on the results of negotiations between employer and employees and do what it can to help support workers' rights.

Under the Labor Standards Act, an employee can be transferred to another workplace based on the needs of business operations though the employer is required to secure the agreement of the employee. Alternatively, the employer shall provide assistance if the relocated workplace is too far away for employees. (By Wu Jui-chi and Evelyn Kao)