As the situation deteriorates, the thousands of workers are ever angrier after the management of the factory completely denies any violations in the payment of their social security. Workers in Dongguan, where exists the largest labor rights movement, have taken solidarity actions with the strikers of Yue Yuen. Large numbers of workers in Dongguan – apparently in thousands – took it to the streets to protest wage injustice and the government’s oppression of migrant workers, and to demand the government pay the social security it owned to the workers.
The Dongguan workers warned the Yue Yuen strikers that the government and the companies want to use force against them.
The production of the factory is almost paralized, as party cadres have started a smearing campaign against workers calling them “traitors”. The police arrested several organizers. Strikers battled special police troops, SWAT, on the streets. They threw water bottles at riot police SWAT, which attacked them brutally and arrested several of them.
When the wife of an organizer learned that the police arrested her husband during the fifth night, thousands of people flocked the administrative center and all shouted that Mr. Yang be released immediately.
According to the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Dispute Service on April 17th, the police arrested at their home the youngest workers on strike and took them away. Next day, demanding their release, thousands of workers took it to the streets, but their march was blocked and many demonstrators were taken away by the police. Some seem to have been arrested just for taking pictures of the unrest. Lots of plainclothes police – apparently in their hundreds – were deployed among the demonstrators to steal their phones so they could not take any pictures.
The number of the workers gathering outside the factory and refusing to work was well over 20,000.
The companies and the government made a third set of proposals, hoping to convince the strikers to go back to work. Apparently the state and the companies admitted they owe unpaid social security to each worker, and they promised to finance the housing fund, but the workers did not gave up, and the factory strike continued unabated.
According to the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Dispute Service workers continued their strike, because the responses they got from the government were not satisfactory. What seems to have angered them terribly was the fact that the factory management completely denied that they committed any violations in the payment of the contributions for the workers’ pensions and other social security.
The government cannot control the movement of a migrant workers. Lowest and worst jobs are given to the country’s 300 million migrant workers – people who were forced to move to the cities and work in factories for money so they could support their families.
The state and the other classes brutally discriminate against these proletarians. While white collar urban workers own even 2 or 3 houses, the hukou system, the household registration system, has been dividing the working class into two distinct categories of the urban and the rural. This denies access for the migrant workers, who had to leave their villages to work in factories in the cities, basic access to healthcare, education as other city residents. They are often discriminated against in terms of salary and treatment. The migrant workers are exposed to the worst maltreatment at work, paying with their lives, some being burned alive while making shoes for western corporations.
Most often they are forced to work without being paid. Riots are often caused by the criminal behavior of bosses towards workers – some bosses even kill the laborers if they demand their rights. In China, the intermediaries chain of subcontractors is so thick that workers are always the last to be paid. If they are. January is usually the strike-month, as migrant workers stop working to force employers to pay them restant wages so that they can get the money to their families before the Chinese New Year. There have been over 70 strikes in the industrial southeast only in the first week of January this year. Strikes have intensified since then, hundreds of strikes, to which participate up to 10,000 workers, have been taking place relentlessly.
ASIA PACIFIC, CHINA, REVOLUTION NEW