Labour Unrest at Nike and Adidas Supplier Yue Yuen Industrial Persists
Thousands of workers at a giant Chinese shoe supplier have rejected an offer for enhanced social benefits, extending one of China’s largest strikes in recent times. The nearly 10-day-long strike at the $5.59bn (£3.3bn, €4.05bn) Yue Yuen Industrial, which manufactures shoes for Adidas, Nike and Converse, has revolved around issues such as outstanding social insurance, improper labour contracts and low wages. Employees have demanded improved social insurance payments, a pay rise and more evenhanded contracts, Reuters reported. Pursued by the news agency, a spokesman for Yue Yuen said the firm had approved an improved “social benefit plan”, and added that the business impact of the strike had been “mild” so far.
However, thousands of workers, dressed in casual clothes but with factory lanyards and ID cards around their necks, hung around the industrial estate, refusing to return to work. Riot police were stationed at the estate.
China convicts hospital workers after high-profile labour protest
(Reuters) – A Chinese court on Tuesday convicted 12 hospital security guards of “disturbing social order” after staging a labour protest last year, sentencing several to light jail terms in what was seen as a test case for labour rights in China. The guards had been part of a group of more than 100 healthcare workers embroiled in a months-long dispute with the Guangzhou Chinese Medicine University Hospital over labour conditions and compensation.
Cut out of a deal that was eventually struck between the hospital and other workers, the guards on August 19 threatened to jump off the hospital building and were detained by police. The ruling by the district court in the southern city of Guangzhou, convicting the guards of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”, comes against a backdrop of growing labour activism in China and was calibrated to send a message, said Duan Yi, a labour lawyer and counsel for one of the guards. “They are sending a signal to society at large which is that as workers protect their rights, if they are even slightly extreme they could receive criminal punishment,” he said.
Thousands Clash With Chinese Police in Crematorium Protests
Residents of a city in China’s southern Guangdong province clashed with armed police on Monday during a mass protest at government plans to build a crematorium, protesters and officials said, amid reports of one death and multiple injuries in the violence. Thousands of people—some of whom skipped work and cut classes—took part in the protest, which began at the weekend over the planned construction of the crematorium in Ligang near Huazhou city, which is administered by Maoming city, even after official media reports said that the project will be shelved.
The opposition to the crematorium came as popular anger with the authorities over a planned petrochemical plant in Maoming had hardly subsided following demonstrations, clashes and riots earlier this month. On Monday, angry protesters gathered outside municipal government buildings carrying banners, one of which read “Civilized Protest: Crematorium Get the Hell Out of Ligang.” Photos of the protests taken by participants on Saturday showed riot police in full armor lining streets packed with civilians, in what appeared to be a relaxed atmosphere. But hundreds of armed police arrived at Monday’s protest and began using force to break it up, eyewitnesses said.