Petition launched by National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NAFITU), WINTEK bargaining team, Solidarity Union, Youth Labor Union 95, Taiwan Labor Information & Education Association.

WINTEK Corporation (Chairman & President: Hyley H. Huang. Headquarter: 10, Jianguo RD, Tanzih Township, Taichung County 427, Taiwan) was established in 1990. Its majors products include flat monitors such as LCD, LCM and touch panels, occupying the largest market share of touch panels and small-sized mobile phone panels in Taiwan, ranking among top 3 worldwide. WINTEK allocates 12 of its manufacture lines in Taiwan (Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung), employing as many as 3,550 workers; for its two factories in Dongguan and Soochow, China, 18,150 workers are employed, while its Chennai (India) factory employs 1,450 workers. It spreads its worldwide sales network across the US, Korea and Germany. WINTEK’s major clients include Apple (iPhone), Nokia and HTC.

As the financial crisis strikes home, many employees reported exploited or laid off unjustified by WINTEK, therefore we seek worldwide support for labours in Taiwan and China. We make appeals to labour groups and workers in every nation to unite as one, and to sign the petition condemning the WINTEK for mass exploitation of labours! We make appeals to the governments in China, Taiwan, India and Korea, to examine the working condition at WINTEK! We also appeal that acclaimed brands such as Apple (iPhone), Nokia and HTC would follow the international Supplier Code of Conduct and demand WINTEK to refrain from exploitation!

Case 1: Unexpectedly laying off more than 600 factory workers in Taiwan

Since November 2008, WINTEK had cut salaries and stopped offering benefits, and resorted to forcing unpaid leaves on employees. Within two weeks, more than 600 employees were laid off unexpectedly; the number can rise to near 1000 if contract and migrant workers are to be counted. WINTEK did not file a report to the government or embark on a negotiation process with its employees 60 days beforehand. Pregnant women and veteran workers were among those who got laid-off; this was an ostensibly discriminative action. After protest, the would-be mothers went back to work, but the others are still fighting their jobs back.

The company claimed that this measure was taken because the orders dropped during November 2008, and that it was experiencing a bad loss. However, according to the financial papers, WINTEK still has a surplus of four billion TWD. (approx. $118 million USD) Taiwanese press also reported that WINTEK had received urgent orders, thus needed to hire a good number of new workers. This has proved the company failed to do what it could to prevent mass lay-offs.

For those who appeared lucky to keep their jobs, their pay was cut, (no awards and no subsidies for early shifts) their overtime became unpaid, and the night shifts were asked to work longer hours. The workers would have to work nonstop in order to make enough to survive. Moreover, the company has filed a lawsuit of defamation against, Wei-li Chu, Secretary General of National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, who has been assisting the unemployed workers..

Case 2:7,000 workers went on strike for pay cuts and unpaid overtime labour

Masstop Liquid Crystal Display in Donguan, a subsidiary of WINTEK, saw more than 7,000 broke in outrage when the workers went on strike on April 16th.

The strike was the result of third-rate food offered in the factories, and that the overtime pay and subsidies were held back. According to Chinese labour laws, those who work overtime should be paid twice of their normal wages; which means if they get less than that, the company is breaching the laws. However, Masstop demanded in February the workers to sign an agreement indicating their acceptance of an overtime wage of only 1.5 times of the normal wage. Meanwhile, the company told the workforce that this agreement was approved by the labour administration, which later proved to be a lie.

Albeit the recession, the company’s manufacture lines were working around the clock, while overtime wages and subsidies were being deducted.

The company offered to pay twice the normal wage for overtime, and demanded the workers to get back to work. Because the issues with food and subsidies were left unresolved, 19 of them continued the strike and were eventually laid off.

WINTEK violations of the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct

1. WINTEK has violated the code concerning overtime wages: “workers must be compensated for overtime hours at the premium rate required by applicable laws and regulations.”

Underpaid overtime wages:WINTEK forced its Taiwanese employees to give up their overtime pay and holiday subsidies, opting for more days off instead. Masstop , WINTEK’s subsidiary in Dongguan, claimed on February 26th that the labour administration on Dongguan has approved that its 25% cut in holiday overtime wages. In fact, the administration has never approved such change.

2. WINTEK has violated the code concerning fair treatment to employees according to applicable laws and regulations.

Illegally laying off workers:Masstop , WINTEK’s subsidiary in Dongguan faced strike because of working condition issues. Though the company agreed to adhere to labour laws and pay overtime wages twice as much as the normal ones, the company made a conditional offer, stating that all workers should be back at work before three in the afternoon. 19 of the workers were laid off because they continued the strike. The fact is, the company agreed to pay the overtime wages only a few days later. According to Chinese labour laws, workers have the rights not to work before they get paid. The company breached the laws by laying them off.

3. WINTEK has violated the code concerning dormitory and dining: “Suppliers must provide workers with clean toilet facilities, access to potable water, and sanitary food.”

Food problems: Masstop , WINTEK’s subsidiary in Dongguan, has cut the expenses for daily meals from 8 RMB to 4.5 RMB. Some say the food is a far cry from satisfactory. This issue directly resulted to the strike, but the company has not solved it yet.

1. Give back the jobs taken from the WINTEK employees in Taiwan, and withdraw the lawsuit of defamation.

2. Embark on a negotiation process with workers in Dongguan, and pay overtime wages according to applicable regulations. Any retaliation tactics must not be used against workers who participated in the strike.

3. Governments in China, Taiwan, India and Korea must examine the working condition at WINTEK, and bid them to improve the standards immediately. Otherwise, all subsidies or tax-cuts shall be suspended.

4. We appeal that acclaimed brands such as Apple (iPhone), Nokia and HTC would follow the international Supplier Code of Conduct and demand WINTEK to improve its labour conditions, refrain from exploitation and treat labour unions fairly. If WINTEK shall refuse to do so, the aforementioned brands shall reconsider their partnership with WINTEK, on the premise of basic international labour rights.

5. The brands shall demand WINTEK to allow external labour unions or organisations to conduct inspections of labour conditions in its factories across Dongguan, Taiwan and Soochow.

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The Reform WINTEK working conditions petition to WINTEK Corp. was written by Chung-pei Pien and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.