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A 12 day strike by 600 workers at a Foshan shoe factory finally ended on 22 December after employees reluctantly accepted an offer by management to pay them just half of what they had been demanding.
Suspect Liu Shuangyun tells TV station he started blaze at clothing factory because he was angry about unpaid wages
Xiong Gaolin is one of the lucky ones: a victim of occupational disease in China who has actually received reasonable compensation. However, it took him nearly four years to get that money and there are still issues left unresolved. Xiong could have just accepted part-payment but, like many other workers with occupational illness in China, he is determined to fight on until justice is finally done.
China Labour Bulletin Director Han Dongfang contributed the following commentary on the positive momentum of the Chinese workers movement to the International Herald Tribune as part of its coverage of the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. Photograph of striking factory workers in Guangzhou.
IN April of this year, a group of Chinese workers, frustrated and angry at their employer’s long-standing refusal to pay their pension contributions, stormed into their manager’s office and demanded payment. The manager prevaricated and made empty promises. When he realized the workers were not going away, he called the police and had the ringleaders arrested for imprisoning him in his office.
A collective protest by workers at an auto parts factory in Guangdong at being forced to work an additional 20 minutes each day to make up for their rest period, brought almost immediate success after a year of polite but fruitless negotiations.
The number of strikes in China’s service industries surged once again last month to overtake manufacturing as the country’s most strike prone sector, according to data compiled by China Labour Bulletin. Out of the 37 strikes and protests recorded on CLB’s strike map in September, over one half (21) occurred in the service sector, including seven in transport, six in retail and two in education. A total of 14 strikes were recorded in the manufacturing sector.
Guangzhou’s train station was a depressing sight. It was nearly midnight and the day’s waves of travelers had receded, leaving a tidemark of litter on the concrete floor. The place was filthy and cold. Many of the city’s jobless migrants had come to spend the night here. They arrived in groups of seven or eight, men and women from Guangxi and Yunnan, mostly in their thirties and forties, pulling heavy plastic bags of personal belongings across the station floor. They’d search for a corner and sit, leaning against their bags. Some dozed off quickly, weary after a day spent walking around the city looking for work. Others kept their eyes wide open, on the watch for security officers.
For business leaders attending a “small and medium-sized enterprise summit” in Guangzhou last weekend, it was very much a tale of two business models, the traditional “made in China” model and the newer more innovative “create in China” model.
The prize for Most Misleading Headline of the Week goes to the China Daily last Friday for its proclamation “Migrant children to sit gaokao in cities.” If true, this would be the answer to millions of migrant workers’ prayers for their children who, have to return “home” to the countryside to take the national college entrance exam. Photo by emop, available at flickr under a creative commons license..

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