Thousands Strike Over Pay Deductions At South China Factory

2007-11-28
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Workers fill the streets of Houjie, Dongguan city, Guangdong province. Photo: supplied by a striking worker

HONG KONG—Thousands of workers at a Hong Kong-invested factory in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have blocked the streets outside their workplace, in protest at deductions from their wages.

Several thousand workers at the Alco Electronics factory in Houjie township staged a sit-in in the main streets near the factory, which is in the suburbs of Dongguan city.

“We didn’t go to work today,” one striker told RFA’s Cantonese service Tuesday. “Many employees sat on a main street near the plant, causing a serious traffic jam. Police have had to be deployed there to control the traffic.”

Many employees sat on a main street near the plant, causing a serious traffic jam. Police have had to be deployed there to control the traffic.

She said the dispute began after the factory deducted 250-300 yuan (U.S. $34-40) from workers’ wages for the provision of meals.

New awareness of rights

“We are very conscious of our rights now. If workers encounter unjust treatment, we are no longer going to remain silent, as we did before,” she said.

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Riot police in Houjie, Dongguan city, Guangdong province. Photo: supplied by a striking worker

A spokesman for the company confirmed the strike.

“Yes, several thousand workers in our plant are on strike today. It’s related to employees’ welfare. But I can’t really tell you the details,” he said.

An official at the Houjie township labor department said two officials had been sent to the scene to mediate.

“They haven’t come back yet. I don’t know the latest situation, for I am not at the scene.”

The factory is owned by the Hong Kong-listed Alco Holdings Ltd. Established in 1986, it produces audio-visual equipment for export to North America, Europe, and Asia.

Original reporting in Cantonese by Lee Kin-kwan. Service director: Shiny Li. Translated and written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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