Strike action shows the broad range of worker dissatisfaction across China

Protests have erupted over the last week in a wide range of industries and locations across China, indicating that worker unrest is far from confined to just the manufacturing heartland of the Pearl River Delta.

Several hundred workers at an electronics factory in Taicang, Jiangsu, reportedly went out on strike for two days from 28 November after a Japanese manager repeatedly insulted Chinese employees. The workers demanded the manager’s resignation and refused to return to work until their demands had been met.

At the same time, more than a 1,000 workers went out on strike at the Singapore-owned Hi-P International over plans to relocate the factory without properly compensating the workers who would be laid-off in the process. A worker at the factory told CLB on 5 December that the strike was still on-going, although fewer workers were involved.

In early December, bus drivers in the southern provinces of Hainan and Guangxi staged separate protests over low pay and unfair competition from unlicensed vehicles. Drivers in Haikou complained that after having to work 30 days each month, they could still only earn 1,400 yuan a month. And in the coastal city of Fangcheng, drivers staged a three day strike to protest the government’s failure to clamp down on unlicensed minivans poaching their business.

On 28 and 30 November, several hundred workers staged a sit-down protest at the entrance of a state-owned factory in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu in a dispute over the distribution of shares resulting from the company’s privatization. And in the Zhejiang city of Jinhua, more than 100 employees at a Tesco supermarket staged a sit-in demanding proper compensation for their planned redundancy.

Meanwhile, several thousand workers at the Taiwan-owned shoe factory in Dongguan that witnessed a massive and at times violent strike on 17 November have returned to work after management agreed to guarantee employees sufficient overtime to boost their basic wage, which currently stands at just 1,100 yuan a month. However, the guarantee only lasts until the end of December and workers told CLB they are still unsure about their future.
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