KMT labor union warns party as it fights for jobs

By Huang Tai-lin, Taipei Times, Wednesday 5 May 2004, Page 1

The union representing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) workers said yesterday it won't allow the party to dismiss the bulk of its staff to improve its finances.

The director of the KMT's labor union, Liu Chien-sung (劉建崧), said yesterday he hopes the party will abide by the Law on the Protection Against Mass Dismissal of Employees (大量解雇勞工保護法) should it decide to go ahead with a major staff cut.

From the point of view of protecting workers' rights, we are unwilling to see the party resort to a mass dismissal of its staff, Liu said.

Should the party eventually decide to do that, the dismissal should adhere to the Law on the Protection Against Mass Dismissal of Employees. We hope an agreeable outcome can be reached, said Liu, who has worked for the KMT for more than 20 years.

Liu added that the union hopes to convene a formal meeting with the party to discuss the issue.

Speculation about dismissals has been mounting since the party lost the presidential election, with some fearing the party plans to cut as much as three-quarters of its staff.

Although a task force in charge of the party's internal reform didn't decide on the matter during a meeting on Monday, a decision is expected at a meeting tomorrow.

The downsizing issue was discussed during the [Monday] meeting but no final conclusion on the scope of staff downsizing was made, KMT deputy spokeswoman Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said.

Kuo dismissed the rumor that 75 percent of party staff would lose their jobs.

The task force, headed by Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), was assigned by party Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to handle internal party reforms.

The party's financial situation is not its only concern, but we also have to consider the feelings of staff, Kuo said, adding that the party recognizes the efforts of its employees and would try to reach an agreement with its workers.

The KMT employs an estimated 1,700 people, nearly 10 times the number employed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

According to KMT Administration and Management Committee Director-General Chang Che-shen (張哲琛), the party pays NT$150 million in salaries a month and must pay NT$200 million a month if pensions for retired employees are taken into account.

In 2000, financial magazine Wealth Monthly estimated the value of the KMT's assets at US$17 billion.