Young Fast Optical hired underaged workers: CLA
By Shelley Huang
Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010, Page 2
The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday confirmed allegations made by employees that Young Fast Optical Inc (洋華光電) had illegally employed workers under the age of 16 to work long hours.
The touch-panel sensor maker, which employs more than 700 people has recently been accused of several instances of malpractice by members of the company’s union, including illegal mass lay-offs of workers, replacing laid off domestic workers with foreign labor, failure to provide payment for overtime, insufficient allocation of labor pension funds and the illegal employment of cooperation education program students (under the age of 16) to work overtime.
The Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法) prohibits cooperation education program students under the age of 16 working more than eight hours per day. Employers in violation are criminally liable and can be punished with up to six years in prison and fined up to NT$20,000.
The union alleged that Young Fast ordered its underage workers to be on duty for as long as 12 hours each day.
National Federation of Independent Trade Unions president Chu Wei-li (朱維立) also said that to avoid being investigated, Young Fast called an emergency meeting over the weekend to terminate its contracts with more than 300 students who had been forced to work overtime.
Young Fast is “completely blind to labor regulation laws,” Chu said. “People should know that the popular [touch screen] cellphones are ‘blood cellphones.’”
The CLA said labor officials at the Taoyuan County Government have investigated the claims made by the union and handed the case over to county prosecutors for further investigation.
The company posted a statement on its Web site two weeks ago denying the allegations. Calls to the company for comment yesterday went unanswered.
Young Fast accepts fines for labor violation
Updated Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:49 am TWN, The China Post news staff
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Young Fast Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of small to medium-sized touch panel sensor (TPS) products, promised yesterday to review and improve employment policies after being accused of violating labor regulations.
Led by labor unions, company employees staged protests accusing the management of assigning students hired by the company to the night shift and forcing them to work more than eight hours per day.
Young Fast, founded in 1999 with headquarters in Taoyuan County, said the company heeded the request from employees who asked the company to give their children the job opportunities and enable them to learn professional skills under the “industry-education cooperation” project.
But the managers could have neglected the issue concerning working hours when striving to fill the orders placed by customers.
The firm said it accepted a penalty in the form of a fine meted out by the Taoyuan County Government for the negligence and will humbly review policies concerning other complaints raised by the union leaders,
Corporate labor unions charged the company of inappropriately laying off some union leaders. This lead Young Fast to also be fined NT$18,000 and instructed to take remedial measures.
In addition, the unions said that the company's management has also violated other labor regulations, including illegally replacing local workers with foreign laborers, underreporting the workers' wages for insurance policies, and requiring employees to work for time longer than the overtime limit stipulated in labor rules.
Officials at the Council of Labor Affairs said they have been working with the labor department of the county government to examine and verify all the charges filed by the labor unions to safeguard the workers' rights and interests.
Officials at the Ministry of Education said they will suspend Young Fast's program to hire students for the “industry-education cooperation” project if the company is guilty of violating the rules.
In addition to factories in Taiwan, Young Fast also maintains production in China and Vietnam to manufacture touch panel sensor products for mobile phones, PDAs, GPS devices, and other consumer electronic devices produced by companies in Taiwan and abroad.