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September 15,2008 Taiwan Bank Employees Fight for their Right from HSBC

HSBC has bought Taiwan local Chinese Bank, which had a union (Chinese Bank Union) and was a member of the NFBEU (renamed as HSBC Union). Following the takeover the employees had formed a union amidst the hostile attitude of the bank.


Employees are disturbed about the HSBC local managements hostile attitude towards unions and preventing employees joining the trade union. In this connection Union came to CTWU for supports and suggestion and then held the press conference on Sep. 15, for the purpose of creating public awareness about HSBCs violations of law.


UNI-Apro has demonstrated its attitude to be the strong backup of HSBC Bank Union and appealed to UNI headquarter for further help.


This press conference caused significant news coverage. The following is the news from Taipei Times on Sep. 16:

HSBC Union Protests Forced Job Changes

 ACQUISITION BLUES: Employees are unhappy with changes brought about by HSBC’s takeover of the Chinese Bank, which include the closure of 11 branches

HSBC employees voiced worries yesterday that the global financial services provider may compromise their labor rights as it works to close 11 outlets of the former Chinese Bank (中華銀行) before the end of November.


Lonely Chiu (邱榮利), leader of the HSBC workers union, accused the London-based bank of seeking to back down on the terms under which it acquired the troubled lender from the Central Deposit Insurance Corp (中央存保) in March.


HSBC won NT$47.48 billion (US$1.48 billion) in subsidies and agreed to keep about 1,000 Chinese Bank employees for a year and 300 more until the end of November.


The shutdown of 11 outlets will put up to 200 colleagues out of a job prematurely without due compensation,” Chiu said.


The bank offered three options to employees whose work will be affected by the downsizing plan — they could work as wealth management specialists, shift to clerical posts in other outlets or stay on the payroll till the end of March, said Chiu, a manager in HSBC’s operational division in Taipei.


Those who refuse to relocate will have to quit rather than be laid off, depriving them of severance compensation and the unemployment subsidy,” Chiu said.


For those willing to relocate, HSBC was offering a monthly transportation subsidy ranging from NT$4,700 to NT$10,000, depending upon the distance involved, for up to a year, Chiu said.


Chiu said the employees were seeking help from labor and financial officials as well as lawmakers in the hopes that HSBC will preserve their jobs a while longer or agree to provide severance pay. He also said he hoped the bank would consider extending the transportation subsidy indefinitely.


Relocation costs will not disappear after one year,” Chiu said.


Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Fei (費鴻泰) said he would talk with HSBC on the employees behalf on Friday or Monday.


In a related development, the leaders of the unions for Sunny Bank (陽信商銀) and Taichung Bank (台中商銀) have accused their employers of seeking to sabotage the unions.


Han Shih-shian (韓仕賢), the secretary-general of the National Federation of Bank Employees, said the banks sent employees notices telling them not to join the unions and switched the positions of some who refused to obey.


Han said union members would take drastic steps if the two banks fail to back off and make a friendly gesture in the near future.

CTWU insists that no boundary among labors. We give hand to HSBC Bank Union based on the belief of solidarity.