TSMC May Become Taiwan`s 1st Hi-tech Firm With a Labor Union

台積年底前組工會 科技大廠首例

Taipei, Aug. 4, 2009 (CENS)--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world`s leading contract IC maker, may become the first hi-tech company in Taiwan with a labor union.

Over 30 TSMC employees have expressed their willingness to organize a labor union via a website, dubbed `the association of labor rights of science park," set up by the Labor Party.

TSMC is the only company in science parks with the number of would-be labor union members exceeding the minimum requirement of 30 for the formation of a labor union. A Labor Party official expressed hope of boosting the number of prospective TSMC labor-union members to over 60, sufficient for the organization of two labor unions for the company, one in Hsinchu Science Park and the other in Southern Taiwan Science Park, adding that there is no timetable for the formation of TSMC labor union.

The preparation for the labor union has started in the wake of the outbreak of a serious labor-management dispute in March this year, triggered by massive layoff carried out by the company. In May, Morris Chang, TSMC chairman, admitted the mistake on the part of the management in the case, inviting the laid-off staffers to return to the company unconditionally.

Pan Shih-wei, vice minister of the Council of Labor Affairs, welcomed the move, citing the examples of many foreign unions which enhance labor-management coordination and boost labor productivity.

The TSMC union, should it be materialized, will be the first such union for local hi-tech companies, whose employees are mostly lukewarm to labor union, due to their good compensations and fringe benefits.

In fact, labor union still stays at a burgeoning stage in Taiwan. As of the end of the first quarter this year, there had been only 957 labor unions island-wide and only 3.3 out of every 100 companies have had labor unions. Of the island`s total 8.8 million laborers, only 519,000 are labor union members, 65% of whom belong to the manufacturing sector. At present, only labor unions for a specific company, rather than for a specific line, are allowed to be formed.