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Thousands of Workers From Two Factories Protest For Welfare Issues in Southern China

Posted by Author on April 16, 2008

By Gu Qing’er, Epoch Times Staff, Apr 10, 2008-Workers protest (1) Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory

On April 7 and 8, thousands of workers employed at the Huayun Machinery Factory and the Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory, both in Hunan Province, had a sit-in protest inside the facilities. Workers demanded that their employers follow state policies and resolve their welfare issues such as wage compensation and placement fees. The protest went peacefully.

(photo at right: Workers protest in Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

At 7:30 a.m. on April 7, workers of the Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory started a sit-in protest in the factory. At 9:30 a.m., workers of the Huayun Machinery Factory did the same. A banner hanging at the front door of the Huayun Factory said “We strongly demand that provincial or municipal commissioners send a team to investigate corruption in the factory,” “Workers protecting theirWorkers protest (2) Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory legal rights.”

A worker from the Huayun factory, who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Everyone out there did it out of his/her own will. About 1,000 people from our factory and 2,000 people from the Changsha factory participated. This protest involves everyone’s rights. We all went. The workers sat there from 8 a.m. until the time they usually get off work.”

(photo at rights: large protest banner at Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

The workers want their compensation, placement fee, redundancy pay, and medical care, which they are entitle to by law, but the companies failed to provide. The workers want the local government to solve these problems.

One worker said, “This is a problem caused by the state owned enterprise reform. There are very few factories in Changsha now. Factories here used to make a lot of profit but [during the economic reform] corrupted officials came in and left workers with little money. Most people get several hundred yuan retirement pension and some have even less. The cost of living is so high now. We can’t take it anymore.”

A Changsha factory sales department worker told the reporter, “We were a state owned enterprise, butWorkers protest (3) Huayun Machinery Factory during the reform, the compensation given the workers was too little. Some retired employees and those who had to leave after a certain age blocked the factory’s entrance [to protest].”

On April 7, the local police and the joint defense team came to the protest scene. No police came on April 8. The local government did not send a representative to talk to the protesters.

(photo at rights: workers protest at Huayun Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

The Huayun Machinery Factory in Hunan Province was a middle-size military enterprise. It was established in 1974 and there used to be over 1,000 employees. The company declared bankruptcy July 2007.

The Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory was a state owned large enterprise established in 1958. Its main products were bucket wheel excavators including dozens of kinds of bucket wheel stacker-reclaimers and blending stacker-reclaimers. The factory employed over 10,000 in the past. After the reform, about 2,000 employees now work in the factory.

– Original report from The Epochtimes
: Thousands of Workers Protest in Southern China

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