China strikes

Via Shiraz, Eric Lee writes:

Manfred Elfstrom, a PhD student at Cornell University in the United States, has produced an extraordinary resource for the trade union movement.

It’s a website called China Strikes and is essentially a map of China with red dots representing strikes.

Elfstrom is taking this quite seriously and is producing some interesting results. For example, he’s categorised the strikes not only by region, but also by sector. Some of this will not be surprising — for example, he finds 15 strikes at electronics factories, such as the infamous Foxconn.

There are another dozen strikes reported in auto factories. But click on “sex workers” and you’ll read about a surprising protest by prostitutes in Wuhan in August 2010.

[…] This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more strikes taking place in China.

Nevertheless, it’s an extraordinary use of cutting-edge technology by an individual which could prove very useful for trade unionists who are interested in China — as we all should be.

Some reports below the fold.

About 100 Chinese construction workers protesting at an airport in south China Tuesday for not being paid on time were on their way home to Henan Province Wednesday morning, after they reached agreement with their employer.

The workers returned to China on chartered flights from Libya, arriving at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport on Tuesday. They refused to leave the airport for fear that their wages would not be paid.

The workers said the employer — Hunan Tianying Construction Co. Ltd.– based in central Hunan Province had withheld 15,000 yuan (about 2,282 U.S. dollars) of salary per worker for their work in Libya. […]

Hundreds of workers at a factory in Wuhan, Hubei, clashed for hours with police in anti-riot gear. They were trying to prevent their company boss from fleeing aided by police before back wages were paid. In the meantime, the authorities ban media from reporting public unrest or social problems that might tarnish China’s image.

Wuhan 3541 Garment General Factory made uniforms for the People’s Liberation Army, but went bust in 2007, laying off more than 4,000 workers. Since then, they have been waiting for back wages.

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