A strike at a tire factory in Changchun has lasted four days and there is still no sign that the workers will return. Up to 400 workers walked out on June 8, complaining that their wages are even lower than those of restaurant workers.
Interviewed by First Financial Daily on June 13, Li Yuan (pseudonym) said: “I’ve worked at the factory for over 3 years and, after deducting taxes, I receive a salary of 1300 – 1400 yuan (US$200 – 215) per month, sometimes even lower. It’s an income even less than a restaurant worker’s. Commodity prices are increasing rapidly and on such a low income, it is hard for me to support my family.”
According to Li, most of the factory workers’ have a monthly wage less than 1,000 Chinese yuan ($153), with 80 percent of the workers’ wages ranging between 870 and 950 yuan. Benefits are only given twice per year. Each person‘s bonus is only 100 yuan, plus an additional 120 yuan for use at supermarkets. Workers are not given any other benefits.
This tire factory is the third in northeastern China owned by Korea’s Kumho Asiana Group. With a total investment of 150 million yuan ($23 million), it is the largest enterprise producing tires in the Northeast region.
The Chinese Consumer Protection Agency issued a warning on June 10 stating that these tires are potentially unsafe and susceptible to flats or blow-outs.
State media had previously exposed the poor quality of the tires back in March, and the brand subsequently sold poorly.