MORE THAN 1,000 PROTEST UNFAIR PENSION PLAN IN SOUTHERN CHINA


2004-01-08
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More than 1,000 people have demonstrated outside the offices of a petrochemical firm in China's southern province of Guangdong against an unfair plan pension plan, RFA's Cantonese service reports.

The protesters�retired workers with the state-owned China Petrochemical Co.�gathered outside the company's offices in the coastal city of Maoming in the southwest of the province. The protestors claim that, according to a document from the central government, their pension plan should be decided at the provincial, not municipal, level.

�Last year, Guangdong Province raised its monthly pension by 12%. But we only got a 4% raise,� said a 62-year-old China Petro retiree named Mr. Wu.

"Our workers are not making an unreasonable demand," another protester, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Yang, told RFA. "We only wanted the pension fund to match the provincial level. Most of the people have worked for the company for years. And now it's gone public with annual production of three trillion yuan (U.S. $37 billion). The company is in good shape.� Yang said the less-than-average pension raise was unjustified given current business conditions and the high rate of inflation in the province. "It should take care of its retired workers when it has the ability," he said.

The protestors met with company officials but were not given any promises.

Wu, who retired in 2003 after more than 30 years' service, said the retirees suspected the company's Maoming office had never reported the dispute to headquarters in Beijing. "We will send our appeal to them ourselves," he said.

The retirees will continue to rally daily against the company until they received a satisfactory answer to their demands, Wu told RFA.

"I worked for this company my whole life and now I'm retired. I do this for other workers. I am not just doing this for myself. There is nothing to be afraid of," Wu said.

Calls to China Petrochemicals' Maoming offices went unanswered. #####

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