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Around 7,000 workers in Dongguan stage mass protest over wage cuts and dismissals

By Jennifer Cheung. Chinese Website Editor

Around 7,000 workers at a Taiwan-owned shoe factory in Dongguan took to the streets today, 17 November, in protest at salary cuts and the earlier dismissal of 18 managerial staff, according to posts on Tianya and a Southern Daily reporter’s microblog.

Photographs posted online showed large numbers of police on the street and bloodied workers who claimed to have been beaten by the police. Several other workers had reportedly been detained.

The strike at the Yue Cheng factory in Huang Jiang township was triggered by the dismissal of 18 managers in late October. The company claimed they had been dismissed because of the factory’s decreasing orders and sluggish business. But one of the managers told China Business News that the real reason behind their dismissal was that the factory planned to shift production to Jiangxi in a bid to combat rising costs in the Pearl River Delta.

“We’ve been loyal workers for over a decade in this factory. But now the factory decided to fire us on the sole excuse of bad business operations and cost pressures. How can they be so irresponsible?” one dismissed manager wrote on his internet post.

So far, the factory has not commented on the dispute. Yue Cheng is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, which makes sports shoes for New Balance, Nike and Adidas. Its Taiwan-based parent company, Pou Chen Corporation is one of the biggest shoe manufacturers in the world.

Early this month, another Taiwanese shoe maker in Dongguan, Stella, saw more than 2,000 of its workers strike in protest at its relocation plans and issues related to compensation.