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Police reportedly detain striking workers at Henan cotton mill

More than 20 female workers were detained after police attempted to break up a two-week-long strike at a former state-owned cotton mill in Pingdingshan, Henan. The workers, eight of whom were listed by name, were accused of “disrupting production” (扰乱生产), according to reports circulating on the Chinese internet.

Up to 3,000 police officers moved in to clear the factory gate on 1 June, which had been blocked by striking workers since 14 May. Some of the 5,000 workers have reportedly returned to work but the majority remains on strike.

The strikers have four basic demands: That employees get a fair share of the proceeds from the restructuring of the enterprise and the sale of assets; that holiday pay and bonuses conform with the provisions of the Labour Law: that wages (especially for front line workers) be increased and that workers get paid annual leave; and that elderly and infirm workers be allowed to retire early on a basic subsistence allowance.

For more information about the harassment, arrest, and detention of worker activists in China, see CLB’s most recent list of imprisoned workers, which is updated every year on 4 June. And for an in-depth account of the Pingdingshan strike, see Bill Schiller's exclusive report in the Toronto Star.