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Foxconn’s Terry Gou alone in 22K crusade
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-11 07:59 PM
The announcement by Chairman Terry Gou of Foxconn Technology and the Hon Hai Group that the electronics giant would immediately hike its starting salary for all employees from NT$22,000 a month to NT$26,000 is attracting an underwhelming response from others in the electronics industry. Leading industry names such as TSMC and Delta have been quick to come out and say that they will be maintaining their present salary structures and will not follow Gou’s lead. In addition, a number of factory operators have complained that Gou makes too many disconcerting moves, suggesting that he might be better off sticking to causes that are in the best interests of the industry.

A spokesperson for TSMC noted that the company’s payroll policies are different from those of Hon Hai and employees regularly receive annual salary increases. UMC said simply that their existing salary structure will remain unaffected. At IC design company Novatek, an official said that its employees, most of whom are in R&D, do not have to worry about things like NT$22K salaries.

Delta spokesman Chou Chih-hung said pretty much the same thing, noting that 22K is really an outrageous salary in companies dealing with science and engineering. He added that basic salaries at Delta are in the 33K range, and from there on, salaries vary based on individual performance and other conditions. He said his company, like many others in the industry, does not fall into the category addressed by "Chairman Gou."

Some technology industry analysts point out that starting salaries in the industry vary widely according to the health of the overall industry, the size of the firm involved, how many local and foreign workers are employed and other considerations. Others suggest that perhaps Gou has had his head in the cloud too long. One technology industry executive complained that those who really want to fight for the economy and make money should "put their heads down and get to work” rather than picking up a microphone and grandstanding to the people.

Other industrialists in electronics and communications have pointed out that Taiwanese companies are largely small and medium sized outfits where profitability can seesaw from season to season and price competition with Chinese factories is intense. "Our profit margins are already pitifully low," they complain, saying there is little room for largess when payday comes around, and impractical slogans like Gou’s call to "raise salaries and get good government" ring hollow.

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