The work stoppage brought an immediate response from the local government in Shenzhen’s Bao’an district, which dispatched officials from the education, labour and judicial bureaus as well as the local police station. At 11.am, teachers’ representatives held talks with the owner of the privately-run Liutang Kindergarten, and by the afternoon the wage arrears had been paid and all classes resumed.
The teachers, mainly young women from the countryside, were given a pay rise but only inline with the increase in the statutory minimum wage. Shenzhen increased its minimum wage by 20 percent to 1,320 yuan a month on 1 April.
Many of the parents of children at the Liutang Kindergarten, interviewed by the newspaper, complained that the teachers’ wages were too low, which led to high staff turnover and adversely affected the quality of their children’s care and education.
As CLB reported earlier this month, although wages for factory workers in the Pearl River Delta are increasing, pay for many white collar and service sector employees has remained relatively static. And with the rapid increase in the cost of living in Shenzhen, even a monthly wage of 1,500 yuan is barely enough to get by, let alone save anything.
For an update and photographs, see the news story on our Chinese website.