Labor Unrest in Shenzhen

Workers in the southern Chinese city block the gates of their electronics factory.
Email story
Comment on this story
Print story
A photo circulated online of workers from the Chaoyang Electronics Factory in Shenzhen on their third day of protests, June 19, 2012.
A photo circulated online of workers from the Chaoyang Electronics Factory in Shenzhen on their third day of protests, June 19, 2012.
Courtesy of Jasmine Revolution website

Workers at a Taiwan-invested electronics factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen entered the third day of a strike over a plant relocation on Tuesday, activists and employees said.

Employees of the Chaoyang Electronics factory in the city's Bao'an district began the strike on Sunday, blocking the factory gates in protest over pay and working conditions, including plans to lay off any workers who didn't wish to relocate along with the plant, according to a report on the Jasmine Revolution website.

They were angry at compulsory layoffs of workers who refused to relocate and that their calls for compensation had been rejected by management, according to a microblog post on the popular Sina Weibo service by user @fengzhiliudong.

Photos posted online showed large numbers of people, mostly women, in blue work overalls gathered on the road and around the gates of the factory.

An employee who answered the phone at the factory on Tuesday confirmed the action had continued.

"I can see that there are still some people out there on the square," the employee said. "The workers are unhappy at the quality of the canteen food and that the salaries are too low."

"This is a normal protest. They are also unhappy with changes to their working patterns, that's why they are protesting."

The employee said the protest was similar to those in 2010 at Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that  assembles Apple's iPhone and drew worldwide scrutiny after its workers in Shenzhen committed suicide.

"This is like the protest at Foxconn, where the workers protested because the salaries were too low," the employee said. "After they gave them a raise, the trouble stopped."

Police had been dispatched to the scene to ensure that the protests didn't escalate, local residents said.

A second employee who manned the switchboard at the factory said workers were preventing vehicles from entering or leaving through the factory gates.

An official who answered the phone at the Xixiang township office of the ruling Communist Party said local government had sent people to the scene. "I think they've sent people to deal with it, but we don't know much about it in this office," the employee said.

Chaoyang Electronics was set up by Taiwan investors in 1992, and manufacturers speakers for car stereo systems. It has more than 1,000 employees.


Meanwhile, workers at a state-run textile plant in the northeastern port city of Qingdao blocked a road in protest against the management's decision to retire senior workers and against forced redundancies.

An officer who answered the phone at the Hangzhou Road police station said the protesters had continued to block the road on Tuesday.

"They were there in the morning, but by the afternoon they were gone," the officer said.

He declined to say how many people were involved. "I don't know, because I didn't go to the scene," he said.

China is facing skyrocketing prices and repeated waves of labor unrest, as slowdowns in factory production have followed a two-year cool-down of the world's second-biggest economy.

Chinese manufacturers are battling surging costs in almost all areas of their business, and southern China in particular has seen a string of strikes and labor-related unrest in recent months.

China's traditionally export-driven economy has been hit by slowing demand for its exports in Europe and the U.S., amid weakening domestic demand and a tight lending environment.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service and by Lin Jing for the Cantonese service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.





More Listening Options

View Full Site