SACOM received request from Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union (YFOTU) to support their struggle.

Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO) is suppliers to various electronic brands including LG, HTC, and Samsung. Recently, labour rights violations such as child labour, excessive overtime, deduction of overtime premium, crackdown on unionists were found in the factory. The local authorities have intervened, but could not generate pressure to the corporate. On the contrary, YFO is arrogant to warn that if there are so many restrictions in Taiwan, the corporate will move to China for production. YFO adds that it cannot be kind to union. For the details, please read the following message from YFOTU.

In support of YFOTU, SACOM has sent letters of concerns to Samsung, LG, HTC, Google and Vodafone to call on the brands to intervene and press YFO to:

– resolve labour dispute through dialogue with the YFOTU;

– reinstate the dismissed unionists;

– prevent repetition of labour rights abuse in the factory.

SACOM hopes more organizations can express solidarity to the YFOTU.

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Reinstate the Illegally-Dismissed Workers and Enforce the Core Labor Standards in YFO!

International Solidarity Letter from YFOTU

Dear Fellow Workers, Officers and Organizers in Trade Unions and other Civil Organizations:

The workers in Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO) in Taiwan need your solidarity and support to pressure the Taiwan Government, the management of YFO, Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunhwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile– the major clients in the supply chain of YFO– to obey the labor laws, improve the working condition and reinstate the workers who had been dismissed illegally in mid-March.

YFO is earning tremendously. In the year 2009, the revenue of Young Fast is $4.02 billion, and the margin is 35.5%; its stock price has once rushed to over NT$500 (approximately $15.68) per share, operating margins NT$4.925 billion (approximately $154.48 million) and NT$22.53 (approximately $0.7) as full-year earnings per share in the year of 2009; it has been called the “king among the touch panels” in Taiwan. Because of the tremendous earnings, the board of YFO agree for NT10 ($0.31) per share cash dividend which amounting to NT1.33 billion ($41.718 million) in the same year. Apparently, the workers in YFO’s factories in Taiwan, China and Vietnam contributed to the enormous profits.

Nevertheless, the workers in YFO are working in a miserable condition: the average overtime is as long as 100 hours per month, but the overtime pay had been calculated illegally, which made a huge deficient on the salaries every month. On the other hand, YFO hire a large number of migrant workers and “interns”[1] (some of them are child labors younger than 16, according to the Taiwan law) to save the labor costs, and even the underaged “interns” have the same overtime hours as the adult workers. Refusal for working overtime would result as the deductions on salaries and threats to be fired. It is not only highly suspected an abuse of child labors, it is even suspected to be a violation of forced labor. Many workers couldn’t stand such conditions and chose to quit the job, so the turn-over rate is very high.

Those who choose to stay decided to protect their rights and the Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union (YFOTU) was formed on December 2009. Since the establishment of the union, the management had tried to sabotage the union. On March 12, 2010, the management of YFO dismissed 5 of the union officers and more than 10 members illegally altogether in the fabricated excuse of “the business suffers an operating loss or contraction; a change in business nature requires a reduction of workers and the particular workers cannot be assigned to another suitable position; and a particular worker is clearly not able to perform the duties required of the position held”[2], which are totally groundless. It is clear that YFO tries to eliminate the newly-born union by dismissing its officers and members illegally.

YFOTU and the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU, the national federation to which YFOTU affiliates) had filed complaints and petitioned all the illegalities of YFO to the local labor administration and different ministries in the central government, but no concrete actions had been made other than some small amounts of penalties. The management of YFO has even stated proudly internally that the government won’t do anything and that they just need to hold on for a couple of days before the pressures disappear. It is surely a blatant disregard not only to the workers, the union, the labor laws and authority of the Taiwan government, the corporate social responsibility, but also the core labor standards advocated by ILO, ITUC and GUFs.

YFOTU and NAFITU have pressured HTC, one of YFO’s major clients on two of its open events on April 2. Replies from HTC was that HTC has nothing to do with YFO workers and that the latter were hired by a supplier of one of its suppliers (by Cher Wang, Chairperson of HTC), and that HTC “would not intervene in the inner management of other companies”(by Peter Chou, the CEO of HTC).

YFOTU and NAFITU are far from satisfied by the reactions of YFO, HTC and the Taiwan government. Furthermore, YFOTU and NAFITU can not agree with the statement of HTC that it can not intervene in the management of its suppliers; on the contrary, YFOTU and NAFITU believe that monitoring the working condition as the core of the code of conduct is merely part of the corporate social responsibility that applied by most of the modern multi-national corporations and Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (or EICC, even though HTC is not a member of it).

After the hard evidence of YFO’s illegalities regarding the extravagant working overtime of the child labors exposed by YFOTU and NAFITU, the contracts of the interns in YFO have been terminated and most of the interns were sent back to their schools. The quota for applying for more migrant workers, on the other hand, has been temporarily frozen, too. As a result, a shortage of the labor force is highly probable to come, and it is also highly probable that YFO would transfer the workloads from its factories in Taiwan to those in China, which might increase the workloads of the workers and thus worsen the working condition there. For the protection of the labor rights and working condition of all the workers in YFO’s factories, YFOTU and NAFITU strongly suggest the international society and the brand corporations of YFO to organize a delegation to monitor the working condition of YFO’s factories in Taiwan, China and Vietnam.

For more background information of YFO: Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO) is one of the leading manufacturers of small-to-medium sized touch panel sensor (TPS) products. Being a nouveau-riche from the boom of the touch panel screen from the last two years, YFO has expanded overwhelmingly and successfully got the bills from the brand corporations of mobile phones such as Samsung, LG, and HTC. On the other hand, being a major client of YFO, HTC has more to do with other brand corporations: HTC cooperates with Google on manufacturing the latter’s series of mobile phones, with Qualcomm for its technology; moreover, HTC also collaborates with telecom corporations including Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile.

In the supply chain of telecom-and-optoelectronics industries, all of the abovementioned brand corporations (i.e., Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunhwa Telecom, and Taiwan Mobile) are responsible for the working condition and illegalities in YFO.

YFOTU and NAFITU would continue to pressure Taiwan government and international brand corporations including Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile who are the main clients of YFO in the supply chain to monitor the working condition in YFO, demanding YFO to obey the labor laws, and to reinstate all the illegally-dismissed workers.

The demands of YFOTU and NAFITU are:

1. Negotiate with YFOTU and NAFITU and set up concrete plans to monitor the labor disputes with YFO, and help YFOTU and NAFITU to dialogue with YFO.

2. YFO shall reinstate all the illegally-dismissed workers, improve the working conditions, give back the overtime wages and stop to sabotage the union.

3. Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile shall establish the code of conduct and monitor all of its suppliers to follow the conduct and the labor laws, fulfilling the due corporate social responsibility.

YFOTU asks for the solidarity from all trade unions in the world to pressure the Taiwan government and the international brands to respect the labor rights and rights.

What you can do to help:

1. Write to the management of Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile, tell them to set up code of conducts of the suppliers (if they don’t have it) according to the core labor standards advocated by ILO, and to monitor and demand YFO to reinstate the union leaders, follow the code of conducts and the local laws;

2. Write to the Taiwan government to demand a thorough investigation on YFO and enforce the law;

3. Forward this mail to your affiliates, members and friends, encourage them to write to pressure;

4. Cooperate with us in our future actions that might need your solidarity and assistance;

5. Any other ways that could help us for this campaign.

On behalf of all the YFOTU members and workers in YFO, we thank for your support!

In solidarity,

Guang-Yu Du,

Secretary, Young Fast Optoelectronic Trade Union (YFOTU)

Wei-Li Chu,

General Secretary, National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU)

Taiwan

International Coordinators:

Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, Consultant and International Coordinator of YFOTU

Mobile: +886-933908994, +886-968049125

Fax: +886-3-2174942

E-Mail: ydwong@gmail.com

Wei-Li Chu, General Secretary, NAFITU

Mobile: +886-981238732

E-Mail: weilichu1210@gmail.com

Reference:

1.Weblog of YFOTU: http://yfotu.blogspot.com/ (Most of its contents are in Chinese while some in English)

2.An English report on YFOTU regarding the petition to HTC on April 2: Shocked by YFO Workers Twice A Day, HTC Still Doesn’t Mind the Labor Condition of Its Supplier

3.Some photos of former actions of YFOTU and NAFITU:

a.http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlmarx_75/sets/72157623601648717/

b.http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlmarx_75/sets/72157623607249813/

c.http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlmarx_75/sets/72157623783188940/

d.http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlmarx_75/sets/72157623812399922/

e.http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolloud/sets/72157623753349410/

4.An English report from a website of technological news: HTC launch gate crashed by supplier union.

5.Two English reports regarding the abuse of child labors in YFO: Young Fast Optical hired underaged workers: CLA; ‎Young Fast accepts fines for labor violation.

6.Relevant target e-mail addresses:

a.President of Taiwan: public@mail.oop.gov.tw

b.Premier of Taiwan: eyemail@eyemail.gio.gov.tw

c.Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO): service@yfo.com.tw

d.LG:

e.Samsung:

f.HTC: pr@htc.com.tw

g.Google:

h.Qualcomm: corpcomm@qualcomm.com

i.Vodafone:

j.Chunghwa Telecom: hctelbd@cht.com.tw

k.Taiwan Mobile: TCCPA@taiwanmobile.com