Taiwan shipping giant Evergreen gives up to 52 months’ pay as year-end bonuses

TAIPEI – Taiwanese shipping giant Evergreen Marine Corporation has rewarded employees with massive year-end bonuses worth between 10 and 52 months of salary each, after posting bumper 2022 profits.

Local media outlets reported how most of the company’s junior workers with a monthly salary of NT$40,000 (S$1,750) took home bonuses worth NT$2 million each last weekend, which is equivalent to four years’ pay.

The 2022 payout is even higher than the 40 months’ bonus which the company paid in 2021, which had set a record at the time for the highest year-end bonus ever paid by a listed Taiwanese company.

Thanks to the rebound of global container shipping lines following pandemic lockdowns, as well as soaring shipping prices, the company reported a net profit of NT$304.35 billion for the first three quarters of 2022. The FY2022 earnings are expected to be released in March 2023.

“The company had good earnings and lots of surplus cash. As it is not aggressively expanding its business operations, they gave some of that cash in the form of bonuses to reward employees, which I think is very reasonable,” said Professor Chiou Jiunn-rong, an economics expert from the National Central University in Taiwan.

Evergreen Marine Corp did not immediately respond to The Straits Times’ request for comment, though it previously told local reporters that workers were compensated based on their performance.

While its employees celebrated, workers in some of its parent company Evergreen Group’s other divisions, particularly the airline business, were not too pleased as they reportedly received much smaller bonuses.

The difference in payout caused airport ground staff working for Evergreen Airline Services (EGAS) – an Eva Air affiliate – to go on strike over the New Year weekend, which led to minor flight delays affecting 4,000 travellers at Taoyuan Airport in Taipei.

The ground staff were reportedly given one month’s salary as bonus, while other Eva Air workers were given bonuses worth up to three months’ wages.

On Jan 1 and 2, around a third of the company’s 300-odd ground crew walked out in protest, according to the Liberty Times newspaper.

The company called in temporary workers to make up for the shortage, while some of its executives, including EGAS chairman Chen Yo-yu, were photographed handling luggage and clearing cabins.

Airport ground operations returned to normal on Jan 3, though there are now concerns that airport staff may go on strike again during the typically busy Chinese New Year week later in January.

This is not the first time that Eva Air has found itself at the centre of controversy over low bonuses. In 2021, more than a quarter of its ground staff reportedly quit after receiving bonuses of NT$10,000 each.


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