Wednesday, June 29, 2011

China represses two strikes in Guangdong province

4000 workers at a South Korean handbag manufacturer (Simone Handbags Ltd.) in Guangzhou's Panyu district walked out demanding a rise of 1300 yuan because of rising prices. They also complained of working 12 hours a day standing with only one break to go to the toilet and earn a mere 1100 yuan ($169, the minimum salary). From the miserable salary, the company still deduces 300 yuan: 200 yuan for social security and 100 yuan if they dine in the plant (the food is unfit for human consumption but they have no choice). There are also denounces of ill-treatment and disrespect for female privacy (male managers walk into female toilets at whim).

By Thursday most workers returned to work without getting any concessions but 900 remained on strike. More than six of them were arrested, some of them after being brutalized.

Simultaneously, police was sent to nearby, Japanese-owned manufacture Citizen Watch (Dongguan, another suburb of Guangzhou) to break another strike for similar reasons. The 200 remaining strikers, who had managed to stop production for 10 days, were forced to return to work under strict police surveillance. 

The immediate trigger for this second strike was an imposition by management to recover for free in a weekend a journey that had an electricity blackout. Workers also complain of being forced to do 5-6 hours overtime every day, being withheld wages if they are even just 10 minutes late and lacking basic safety gear such as gloves.

Vague promises of improvements made some 600 workers to return initially. Later the threat to retain three days of wages for each day of strike forced most to return, however the polishers remained defiant until police forced them to return to work. 

Source: World Socialist Web Site, which comments that, while last year's Honda strike in the North managed to get concessions, now the "Stalinist" regime seems to be determined to force the hand of workers. 

I think that this may cause even greater unrest, as the conditions are extreme and strongly discordant with the rapidly growing wealth of the East Asian super-state, which obviously goes to other pockets.

No need to mention that China is NOT communist but merely fascist.

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