Inventec solar energy unit denies major layoffs report

Taipei, Inventec Solar Energy Corp., a solar cell production subsidiary of Taiwan-based notebook computer maker Inventec Corp., denied Friday that it has laid off more than 100 employees.

In a statement, Inventec Solar Energy said 125 of its production line employees sought legal mediation in early December to settle disputes with the company and an agreement has been reached with 114, who decided to stay.

The solar cell maker said the remaining 11, who failed to settle, have left the company and requested compensation, which the company has refused to pay.

The statement was released after the local media reported Friday Inventec Solar Energy laid off more than 100 workers at the beginning of this year. The reports attracted much attention, particularly after Hannstar Display Corp., a maker of small and medium screens, announced earlier this week that it would lay off about 80 workers.

The reported layoffs by Inventec Solar Energy came at a time when the industry faces a supply glut.

Echoing Taoyuan-based Inventec Solar Energy, Taoyuan City's Department of Labor said in a separate statement there were no massive layoffs at the solar cell maker.

The Taoyuan labor authorities said the application made by 125 Inventec Solar Energy employees for mediation resulted from a change in the company's pay structure but after mediation the employer agreed to return to the original pay structure.

As a result, 114 of the 125 workers seeking mediation decided to stay, the Taoyuan labor authorities said, while the remaining 11 left.

The labor department said it will continue to watch closely whether Inventec Solar Energy abides by labor regulations to protect the rights and benefits of its employees. Inventec Solar Energy said it is planning to take legal action against the media for reporting about a major layoff that did not happen in a bid to protect the company's reputation.

On Wednesday, Hannstar confirmed the layoff of 80 workers, many from its production lines, but emphasized that the layoff was part of normal workforce adjustment and had nothing to do with the company's finances.

Hannstar said the company has ample cash and cash equivalents available through low bank loans.

After the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday which starts on Saturday, the company will have about 20 new employees on board, Hannstar said.

However, Hannstar said the flat panel industry is undergoing inventory adjustments which have affected shipments. Its consolidated sales totaled NT$741 million (US$24.06 million) in December, down 33.6 percent from a month earlier and also down 57.8 percent from a year earlier.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel