6,000 Flextronics Workers Strike in Shanghai


(New York) On Monday, September 17, 6,000 workers at Flextronics Technology’s Shanghai factory commenced a strike because the factory would not provide severance pay after it decided to move to Suzhou. The strike has lasted two days, and workers have confirmed that they will continue into day three.

Flextronics International Ltd. is a global leader in electronics manufacturing and had revenues of over $28 billion in 2011. The factory in question, Flextronics Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is located in the Jiading District of Shanghai and has manufactured for companies such as HP, Alcatel, Motorola, NCR, Nokia, Nortel, and Toshiba.

Recently, Flextronics decided to move its factory in Jiading to the Wuzhong District of Suzhou. The company didn’t first discuss the move with workers and later told the workers that if they did not move to Suzhou with the factory, then they would be choosing to resign without severance pay.

The striking workers are demanding that the factory pay a penalty for severing a labor contract with each worker and give the workers a moving allowance. In addition, workers have demanded that the local government provide them with a subsidy. A series of videos of the strike—the videos originated on Youku.

Workers at Flextronics Shanghai typically work 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, with a monthly income of 2,300 RMB. But workers in the Suzhou Wuzhong factory of Flextronics have much worse conditions. Based on investigations carried out by China Labor Watch in 2011 and 2012, workers at Flextronics’ Wuzhong factory work up to 100 hours of overtime per month, only earning 2,200 RMB. By moving its factory, Flextronics is almost certainly trying to take advantage of the lower labor standards in Suzhou.

China Labor Watch Director Li Qiang today said, “The primary reason that these workers are striking is that Flextronics never spoke with the workers about the move, choosing not to give the workers any right to negotiation. These workers already have families in Shanghai—their kids are in Shanghai—so it is not easy for them to move to Suzhou. China Labor Watch calls on Flextronics to carry out collective bargaining with the workers immediately.”

UPDATE: According to information provided by the Flextronics workers this morning, the factory announced that it will compensate each worker with two months’ salary plus a month’s salary for each year the worker worked in the factory. But workers have not yet agreed to this. According to the workers, this compensation is provided by the Shanghai government to compensate workers for relocation. Workers hope that the factory can provide severance pay to workers as well. Yesterday evening, Flextronics attempted to move all machines from its Shanghai factory, but the workers locked the factory, leading to a conflict between the workers and the factory. The strike continues.

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