Workers at Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO) in Taiwan have urgently requested solidarity actions for their struggle to defend their union and basic labor rights against the company’s union-busting actions and the Taiwanese government’s negligence of the law.
YFO is a Taiwan-based producer of touch-sensor used on high-end mobile phones such as iPhone. It is a major supplier to brand names such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Qualcomm and so on. Google is to become the major buyer of YFO products through subcontracting the manufacturing of Google Phone to HTC and Qualcomm. YFO has three plants in Guangdong, China, one in Hanoi, Vietnam, and one in Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, and a combined workforce of more than 10 thousand.
Working conditions for the 1,300 workers at YFO Taoyuan Plant is worse than most people expected. Aside from low wages, high work intensity, forced overtime without pay, and poor health and safety conditions that is becoming rampant in the so-called high-tech industries today, YFO also hired 200 migrant workers and 400 high school “interns” (some of them are below the age of 16, which is the legal criteria of child labor in Taiwan) and pay them less than the legal minimum wage. And this happened despite the fact that YFO has posted a record-high profit last year.
Workers duly organized a trade union, Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade Union, or YFOTU, in December 2009 to address their problems. The management promptly dismissed five union officers and more than ten active union members in March 2010, under the pretense that their production line will be moved to China. Trade unionists in Taiwan believe that this is a deliberate union-busting action and gross violation of the Labor Union Law.
Workers in the YFOTU and National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU), which YFOTU is affiliated with, have waged a campaign since the illegal dismissal. Aside from the negligence of government in enforcing labor laws in Taiwan, YFOTU and NAFITU especially stress the negligence of the brand name companies in enforcing their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. HTC, the fast expanding Taiwan brand name, is especially under fierce protest.
HTC itself, on the other hand, has commercial cooperation with many well-known telecom corporations which sell its mobile phones: Vodafone, Verizon, Chunghwa Telecom, and Taiwan Mobile are just among the top of them.
The demands of YFOTU and NAFITU are:
1. Reinstate the illegally-dismissed union officers and members;
2. Resolve labor dispute through dialogue with YFOTU and NAFITU;
3. The government shall form a joint-committee from different ministries and take thorough investigation about the working conditions and labor rights abuses, and prevent repetition of labor rights abuse in YFO.
What you can do to help:
1. Sign our petition and send back to us.
2. Sign the on-line campaign on LabourStart
3. Write to the management of Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile to pressure, telling them to set up code of conducts for their suppliers (if they don’t have it at all) according to the International Core Labor Standards advocated by ILO, and to monitor and demand YFO to reinstate the union officers and members, to obey the suppliers’ code of conducts (if they have it) and the local laws;
4. Write to the Taiwan government to protest and demand a thorough investigation on YFO and enforce the law;
5. Distribute this mail to your affiliates, members and friends, encourage them to write to pressure;
6. Cooperate with us in our future actions that might need your solidarity and assistance;
7. Any other ways that could help us for this campaign.
For more information on how to support these workers, see the China Worker website.