1,000 workers from Hong Kong-listed firm hold rally

Employees of semiconductor company protest over what they say is an unfair relocation deal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 4:08am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 5:07pm

More than 1,000 workers of a Hong Kong-listed semiconductor company staged a protest outside three of the company's factories in Shenzhen yesterday, demanding better terms in a relocation plan.

The largely peaceful demonstration by workers with Shenzhen ASM Micro Electronic Technology drew dozens of police officers to the plants, where management shut the gates in an attempt to keep the situation from deteriorating.

"The management closed the gate at the three factories and stopped the workers from crowding together," said one worker. "Dozens of police officers and officials from the local labour bureau arrived later and defended the gate. They were afraid that our workers would protest and block the road outside."

The sit-in was aimed at drawing attention to what some employees felt was inadequate compensation offered to those facing redundancy as part of the factory's move away from the area, a worker said.

The company, a subsidiary of ASM Pacific Technology which listed in Hong Kong in 1989, is the world's largest maker of machines and tools used in the semiconductor industry. Company representatives in Hong Kong and Shenzhen were unavailable for comment.

According to the workers, a statement released at noon said two of the three factories would be relocated to Shenzhen's sub-district of Longgang and to Huizhou , a city more than 100 kilometres to the north, at the end of September next year. Only those employees who agreed to move would keep their jobs.

The workers said the redundancy packages offered were far below the minimum set out in the labour law.

"The management is very sneaky. In the statement, they did not call it a redundancy package but a bonus scheme," said another worker.

Management would pay workers who moved a "bonus" equal to between 0.8 and 1.6 month's basic salary, depending on how long they had been employed by company, according to the worker.

"I have spent over five years doing this. But I was offered only 1,600 yuan [HK$ 2,023] compensation. That's very unfair," he said. Workers earned about 1,800 yuan a month, he said.

"According to the statement, workers would be not able to get the bonus until we have worked in the new factory for at least a year. The statement did not mention any details about the redundancy package for those who don't want to relocate," he said.

"The management told the workers the company would pay some compensation, but we must hand in a letter first saying we quit the jobs voluntarily. They are not sincere at all and just want to fool the workers," he said.