When you learned from your employees that we have came to disrupt HTC's ground breaking ceremony and the launching party for HTC Smart, your new mobile phone, to state our cause, you must have been astonished or even angry, thinking we were antisocial mobs.
And you were wrong; we didn't go there to fool around. We are workers from Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO), one of HTC's major suppliers of touch screens, and we were there for a reason.
Poor working condition forced workers to fled and product quality to deteriorate
Thanks to the orders from HTC and other international brand names, YFO made a gross profit of NT$4,925 million (approximately $156 million), NT$22.53 (approximately $0.7) as full-year earnings per share, and NT$10 ($0.31) per share cash dividend in the year of 2009. These were made by us, the rank and file workers who have dedicated all our efforts for the long overtime working and sacrificed our health and the time we could have spent with our families.
Most of us have kids who are still studying. When we leave our house early in the morning and return late in the midnight, working over 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, we are proud to see the brilliant growth of our company that we were not sweating for nothing.
However, while making huge profits and distributing tremendous dividends for its shareholders, YFO is not treating its workers very differently.
YFO is violating the laws, and it is a unspeakable secret for all the workers, yet all of us know it for sure. The illegalities include forcing us to work for excessive overtime, deduction on the overtime payment, insufficient payment for the labor and health insurance, and abusing the child labors. We sum up the illegalities attached with this letter for your reference.
Union members dismissed illegally from organizing the union to dialogue
Under such poor working conditions, many of our coworkers could not stand it any more and chose to leave. After this Lunar New Year of 2010, more than 100 workers resigned, that is more than one tenth of the total workers in YFO’s Guan-Yin plant.
Witnessing so many coworkers resigned from the bad working conditions, we decided to remain at our posts and organize a union to keep the morale of the workers and dialogue with the management of YFO to improve the working conditions.
Regrettably, just as YFO claimed it would negotiate with the union, many union members were dismissed in March in the pretense of, according to the company, a business contraction and the incompetence of those workers without any former notice.
As you know, the demand for touch panels is always rising in the past few years, and YFO is always recruiting workers, how could the statement of “contraction” be true? More ironically, YFO was recruiting large numbers of migrant workers and hundreds of interns at the same time.
Moreover, we are diligent and experienced workers, you would know we are far from “incompetent” if you have a chance to review our records in YFO.
5 union officers and more than 10 union members were dismissed illegally (and YFO is threatening to fire more) many of which either have 2 or 3 kids or parents to feed. YFO fired us illegally, took away our jobs and endangered the livelihood of our families. Raised up from a poor family in your childhood, Ms. Want, we believe you could understand how difficult it was to keep a family, couldn’t you?
HTC should take up corporate responsibility by watching over YFO; don’t tolerate YFO to keep a sweatshop
We went to the ground breaking ceremony of HTC’s new headquarters just because we can not talk to you in person and take our rights back. We urge you to follow the good examples set by some international brand names who respect their corporate responsibility by monitoring their suppliers.
Consumers and investors in Europe and US regard Corporate Social Responsibility as an important issue; therefore, international brands of electronic goods are not only punish the suppliers by taking away the orders, they would also send out delegations into factories of their suppliers and correct their illegalities with due processes when such disputes break out.
As we have learned, HTC has just partnered with Google for new lines of mobile phones, and is facing the strong challenges from brands such as Apple, who had been trapped into serious controversies from their sweatshop suppliers but had learned a lesson later by setting up code of conduct for its suppliers and fulfilling its Corporate Social Responsibility by monitoring its suppliers and correct them when industrial disputes happened. We believe that if HTC and Google take YFO’s case as a lesson and set up due processes to cope up with the international standards regarding the protection of labor rights, consumers’ rights and the environment, it would be a great help for the social image of the corporations.
Dear Ms. Wang, you are a genius in the industry; you have been facing the international lawsuit of Intel bravely; and you have foreseen the potentiality of smartphones and established HTC. We believe that you would not be happy to see such a worthy brand of HTC be stained by the abuses and violations of laws by your suppliers.
There is a saying, “sons shall be like Morris Chang , daughters shall be like Cher Wang.” We have learned that Mr. Morris Chang had won high reputation and respect when had laid off his beloved CEO and apologized to his employees for the massive dismissal in TSMC. We believe you have the same wisdom, too.
Although YFO is not run by you directly, but just as the abovementioned, according to the international standards such as the code of conduct of EICC, corporations are responsible to monitor their suppliers. Wise as you would surely understand that it would be a severe hurt to HTC’s corporate image if the delicate mobile phones of HTC stained by the bloods of the workers in its suppliers.
Good Christian shall help the oppressed workers to eliminate the illegalities and exploitation
We have learned that you are a devout Christian, who works hard and has a big heart to help those in need, just to follow what Jesus Christ instructs, to be the salt and light on earth.
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me." (Matthew 25:40)
This passage from the Holy Bible encourage people to help those who in need by showing that it is exactly to help the Lord.
We are by no means making jokes of the religion; on the contrary, we believe honestly that you take the religion very important and would practice the religion into life.
Therefore, we wish you could become the salt and light for the workers at YFO.
May God bless you!
We implore for favorable response from you and HTC for the three demands:
1. Realise what Vice President Mr. Tung and CEO Mr. Chou had promised in front of the media: arrange a meeting with YFOTU as soon as possible to come up with a substantial plan to solve the industrial dispute in YFO.
2. Assist YFOTU to negotiate with YFO for the following matters: to reinstate the union officers and members, to refrain from sabotaging the union, improve the working conditions, and to give back the legal overtime wages.
3. Establish a code of conduct for HTC's suppliers: monitor the suppliers to obey the laws and the conduct strictly and fulfill the Corporate Social Responsibility.
We hope you would read this letter and give us favorable replies.
Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union
List of Illegalities at Young Fast Optoelectronics
What the Government Shall Do
Dismissal of the union members illegally.
Labor Union Law.
Subject to criminal trial and fines.
Employment Services Act.
consecutive fine of no less than NT$30,000
and no more than NT$1,500,000
Article 11, Labour Standards Law.
Official Announcement that the dismissal
was unlawful and invalid.
Dismissal of local workers illegally while
recruiting migrant ones.
Article 42 & 47, Employment Services Act.
The migrant workers should be transferred
to other employers, according to Article 54 of the same Act.
Labour Standards Law.
Consecutive fine of NT$20,000 until the
Using a lower standard for labor insurance
Article 14 & others, Labor Insurance Act.
1. Fine for double the sum of premium,
since the violation took effect.
2. Assist the workers to be compensated by the employer.
3. The government shall transfer the
case initiatively to be investigated by the Prosecutors’ Office as fraud and
forgery are involved.
Short in the payment of the Labor Pension
Fund contribution by the employer.
Article 14, Labor Pension Act.
1. The government shall transfer the case
to the court to enforce the employer to make up the full amount of the
employer must pay the delay penalties.
3. Consecutive fine to the employer
until the situation improves.
Excessive overtime hours as many as more
than 100 hours per month.
Article 32, Labour Standards Law.
Consecutive fine of NT$20,000 until the
Labour Standards Law.
Imprisonment of under 5 years or fine
under NT$ 50,000.
Excessive overtime for interns
Article 5, Regulations for Cooperative
Education of Vocational High schools.
Suspension of the cooperation according to
Article 12 or the same regulation.
No re-election for the employees' welfare
Article 5, Employees' Welfare Funds Act.
The government can order a re-election.
Over-time work for child labors under 16
The government shall transfer the case
initiatively to be investigated by the Prosecutors’ Office.
Source：Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union (YFOTU) and National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU)
Translated from Chinese by: Kwang-Yin Liu and Lennon Ying-Dah Wong
中文版/ Chinese version: