Ex-workers win lawsuit brought by government in loan dispute
Central News Agency
2014-03-07 12:08 PM
Taipei, March 7 (CNA) In a landmark decision, an administrative court ruled Friday that 12 former factory workers are not obligated to return millions of dollars borrowed from the government.

In its ruling, the Taipei High Administrative Court said the loans were in effect compensation to the laid-off workers, and the government failed to pursue the matter before the deadline in January 2006. The workers were among hundreds laid off in the 1990s without any compensation from their respective employers. Many of the employees were unable to recover their contributions to the labor insurance fund as their factories had closed down or moved overseas, often without warning.

The government at the time made arrangements for the workers to receive loans, defined as re-employment assistance, which were issued from a job security fund established by the government.

In an effort to recover the loans, the Council of Labor Affairs -- now the Ministry of Labor -- in 2012 brought lawsuits against those workers and hundreds of other employees who had received such loans. The move sparked anger among the former workers, their supporters and activists, who have staged highly visible protests over the past year. Since April last year, 200 of the more than 500 workers involved agreed to pay back 10-30 percent of the loan amounts in a settlement initiated by the Council of Labor Affairs.

Cases involving some 200 former workers are still pending in the administrative court system. The Ministry of Labor will consider whether to appeal Friday's court decision, a ministry official said. (By Liu Shih-yi and Jay Chen)

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