Workers strike over hours at China watch factory

BEIJING – SEVERAL hundred workers at a watch factory in southern China have gone on strike in protest at long working hours, Chinese media have reported.

The strike broke out at the Xinmin Guanli precision timepiece factory in Chang’an, part of the vast factory city of Dongguan close to Hong Kong, the Southern Metropolitan Daily said.

The newspaper reported on Thursday that the strike had entered its fourth day on Wednesday, though it was not clear whether the walkout had now come to an end. Factory officials could not be reached by AFP Saturday.

According to several Chinese recruitment web sites, the plant in Guangdong province, which employees 2,000 workers, belongs to Japan’s Citizen Watch Co.

The workers complained that the factory regularly imposed overtime of up to five or six hours a day. ‘That means we no longer have any time to rest,’ a plant employee was quoted as saying. Wages were withheld from workers who were not at their post 10 minutes before their shift started, said the newspaper, which reported that several hundred workers went to protest at the Chang’an town hall.

Last weekend, hundreds or even thousands of migrant workers clashed with armed police in Xintang, near the provincial capital Guangzhou, after rumours that police had beaten to death a street hawker from distant Sichuan province. — AFP
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