Taiwanese Apple supplier Career Technology to lay off over 400 workers

Apple supplier Career Technology to lay off more than 400 workers at plant in Taoyuan, Taiwan

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(Image from Taoyuan City Government Department of Labor)

(Image from Taoyuan City Government Department of Labor)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese supplier to Apple Inc. Career Technology (Mfg.) Co. (嘉聯益科技股份有限公司) will lay off more than 400 employees from its plant in northern Taiwan later this month, announced the Taoyuan City Government Department of Labor on Monday (Feb. 11).

In a press release issued Monday, the department said that it had been informed by the company over the Lunar New Year that it is planning to lay off 434 employees on Feb. 21 at its plant in Taoyuan's Guanyin District, due to a "forecast of a contraction in business." The department said the company could face stiff fines if it was to found have failed to submit plans for such a large-scale dismissal, which is required by regulations.

Career told CNA that rapid changes in the market left the company no choice but to make the layoffs. The company told the news agency that it will retain 200 to 300 employees in its Guanyin plant, and the 2,000 employees in its Shulin factory in New Taipei City are no imminent danger of being laid off.

The company also has factories in Kunshan, Suzhou, and Shenzhen, China, but currently does not have any plans to downsize its workforce in those cities, reported CNA.

Today, the department will visit the company to assess the situation. The department said that the company should have submitted plans for such a large layoff 60 days in advance, according to the provisions of the The Act of the Protection of Employees During Mass Redundancy (大量解僱勞工保護法), and will impose a fine of between NT$100,000 (US$3,200) to NT$500,000 (US$16,200), if there was a violation.

The department said that in addition to notifying the government in advance, the company should also have conducted negotiations with workers, otherwise it faces punishment for violating the law. According to the department, the Employment Services Office will also contact the company to hold a meetings to explain unemployment benefits, provide recruitment activities, and assist the workers in finding new jobs.

An industry insider told CNA that Career Technology mainly produces soft board antennas for Apple, but due to slowing sales and a seasonal lull in the industry, demand has been low and thus the manpower adjustment was necessary. In January, the company announced NT$1.53 billion in revenue, an increase of 15.01 percent over the previous year and a month-on-month increase of 26.68 percent.

Apple's new iPhone this year will reportedly use a Modified-PI antenna, instead of a Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) based antenna. Since Career Technology had invested heavily in LCP technology, it is afraid it will be adversely affected by this change.

The company is planning on making up for the drop in demand from Apple by supplying other companies with LCP antennas instead. It anticipates that the roll out of 5G mobile phones in 2020 will bring an increase of non-Apple customers.