Taoyuan to probe alleged forced terminations at Apple supplier

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Apple supplier Career Technology reportedly forced 200 full-time employees to sign voluntary resignation papers before the Lunar New Year. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taoyuan’s Department of Labor will launch an investigation next week into allegations that Apple supplier Career Technology (嘉聯益) forced 200 full-time employees to sign voluntary resignation papers before the Lunar New Year.

Employees at Career Technology reported that operations at the company’s factory in Guanyin have been shut down for more than two weeks and that 200 employees were forced to sign a voluntary termination of employment form so that the company could avoid paying severance.

The city’s Labor Department said it received a report from the company saying it had laid off 36 and 23 workers, respectively, on Jan. 29 and Jan. 31.

Career Technology, which supplies flexible printed circuit-boards (FPCB) for iPhone antennas, said there had to be a misunderstanding, according to the department.

The company said it offered employees three options — resignation, retirement, or being laid off — when they were asked to fill out the application form, and the employees must have mistaken that for a voluntary resignation form.

The department said it will send staffers to the company on Feb. 11 when its business resumes after the Lunar New Year holiday to determine whether the allegations are true.

Though the company denied forcing workers to accept voluntary resignations, it acknowledged that the factory’s low capacity usage made it necessary to adjust the size of its workforce.

The company said 20-30 employees were expected to be affected by its personnel moves, either by being laid off or being transferred to its Shulin factory in New Taipei.

It gave no explanation for the discrepancy in its numbers and the 59 layoffs it reported to the Labor Department.

Those who were laid off will be paid severance and other benefits in accordance with the Labor Standards Act, Career Technology said.

The company’s recent move came after the factory let go 400-500 temporary contract workers in November 2018 due to weak iPhone sales, it said.

Career Technology declined to confirm whether it intends to sell its factory to rival FPCB manufacturer Zhen Ding Technology, as has been rumored.

By Wu Jui-chi and Evelyn Kao