Labor News Brief (September 24th – 27th, 2012)

· Riot of 2,000 workers at Foxconn Taiyuan. (People’s Daily, Sept. 25) – From 11pm on the 23rd to early morning yesterday, a large-scale group fight of employees took place in Foxconn’s Taiyuan factory compound. The official Weibo of Xinhua News Agency, citing the police department of Taiyuan, Shanxi, reported that 40 people were injured, 3 of whom were badly wounded but stable. Others were slightly injured, and no one was killed. Around 2,000 employees were involved and the incident was put to an end at around 3am after the police intervened.

· Trash unattended in a residential community in Ji’nan; property management employees carried out a strike demanding the payment of wages. (Sohu Sept. 25) – Tian Shu Ju’s property management employees suddenly “disappeared.” In the absence of the employees, the trash was not taken care of. The cause was that although the homeowners pay their property management fees as requested, the employees had not been paid a dime for the past year. The employees chose to suspend all services except for the rechargingof electricity cards.

· Nissan and three other car manufacturers decide to reduce production in China; Toyota has suspended production in two factories.(People’s Daily, Sept. 26) – Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda have decided to reduce car production in Chinese factories. The boycott of Japanese goods triggered by the Diaoyu Island Dispute has adversely affected the sales of these companies. Honda claimed that they would closely monitor the effect on the sales and they have not decided whether or not to reduce production. Mitsubishi Motors stated that they had no plan of production reduction. During the vacation, productions at all companies’ Chinese factories will be suspended.

· Approximately 100 bus drivers and stewards absent from work; 10 buses reassigned to Xiao Lan as substitutes. (ND Daily, Sept. 26 ) – We reported that around 100 bus drivers and conductors carried out a strike at Xiao Lan Public Transportation Co. (“Xiao Lan”) yesterday. Claiming that the company allegedly withheld payment of wages and failed to sign employment contracts with them, the drivers demanded greater benefits from the company. This reporter learned that the strikers asked for the compensation of 1,000 RMB/person/month, which the employer refused. All strikers are still gathered at Xiao Lan bus stop. To ease the situation, Zhongshan Public Transportation Group Ltd. reassigned 10 buses to run the lines in Xiao Lan.

· New labor regulations in Zhengzhou: minimum-wage workers cannot take up more than 20% of all workers. (He’nan Business, Sept. 26) – Yesterday, the government of Zhengzhou announced new labor regulations (“Regulations”), which are the first local labor regulations in Zhengzhou. The Regulations, which are innovative in certain areas, will be effective on January 1, 2013. In regards to the calculation of overtime wages of part-time workers, for which there is no national standard, Article 34 of the Regulations states that overtime wages shall be paid when the total amount of work assigned exceeds 24 hours a week. Below are two highlights of the Regulations. 1) It protects both workers and employers: Article 19 states that if a worker illegally terminates the employment contract with the employer, the employer can nonetheless require the worker to perform the employment contract or handle the termination in compliance with the company policy. Reciprocally, a employer shall take into account the worker’s opinion when the employer is terminating the employment contract with the worker. 2) If the number of minimum-wage workers exceeds 20% of all workers, the labor union or worker representatives can petition to the employer to renegotiate wages. 3) HR agencies operating in downtown area shall have a place of business no smaller than 80m2.,1281,13315189,00.shtml

· 34 workers poisoned by alkane used for wiping cell-phone screens; some are too ill to take care of themselves. (, Sept. 26) – Mr. Xu, an employee at Fang Tai Hua Wei Electronic Tech., Ltd. in Huangjiang, told the reporter that workers at the department where cell phone screens are wiped had been experiencing such symptoms since June. Some are too ill to take care of themselves. The government of Huangjiang told the reporter yesterday that it had been confirmed that 34 workers were poisoned by alkane. The government had taken emergency measures and shut down the relevant workshop. 16 people with serious injuries had been admitted into and treated at the Guangdong Occupational Disease Hospital. The factory is currently paying the medical expenses.

· Coalmine workers killed in Gansu due to worn-out steel cable, which is a result of wear and tear during unauthorized and prohibited exploitation. (, Sept. 26) – At 12:25am on the 25th in Xusheng Coalmine in Baiyin, Gansu, a coalmine elevator carrying 34 workers was 80 meters away from ascending to the exit. The steel cable suddenly broke and the elevator car dropped 500 meters to the ground. 20 workers were killed and 14 injured. Early on May 17, Baiyin Administration of Work Safety had issued a notice of suspension to Qusheng Coalmine. A villager around the coalmine told the reporter that although the coalmine did not operate during the day, it still did secretly at night. An injured worker who was being treated at the hospital said that they were changing shift at the time of the accident.

· Four workers live in one container: the rent is 1.5 RMB per person per day. (Sohu, Sept. 26) – Four workers working at a construction site in Qingdao live in a custom-made container, the rent for which is 6RMB per day and 1.5RMB per person per day. Mr. Li, one of the workers, told the reporter that he was working here with several of his coworkers. Because the rentals in the vicinity are expensive, they rent a container together. The staff of the container manufacturer told the reporter that the containers were designed for living in that they are all equipped with insulation layer to keep it warm inside during the winter and also have windows.

· Shuttle bus catches fire: 30 workers escape. (Sina News, Sept. 27) – At 8:30 on the morning of September 26, a shuttle bus loaded with 30 workers suddenly caught fire at an intersection. Passengers safely escaped before the bus burned to an empty shell. According to the driver, the shuttle bus was used for commuting workers to and from work. When the fire started, there were 30 workers on the bus. Immediately after the worker sitting on the last row noticed the fire, the driver pulled the bus over and evacuated the passengers in an orderly fashion.

· High school library under construction collapses in He’nan, injuring 11. (, Sept 27) – According to the staff present at time of the accident, at around 2:50pm, the pathway of the library under construction in He’nan Qinyang No. 1 High School suddenly collapsed while the cement was poured in. This reporter learned from the city government that there were 11 workers at the scene. Six of them were slightly injured and five have minor bruises. None of there lives were endangered.

· Elevator shuts down and over a hundred workers climb 20 floors to demand the payment of overdue wages of five million renminbi. (, Sept. 27) – Yesterday at around 12pm, a group of workers gathered in the office of Yun’nan Teng Jun International Logistics, Ltd. Having not received wages totaling over one million renminbi, more than one hundred workers came to the developer’s office seeking a solution. The workers had to climb 20 floors through the stairwell because the property management shut down the elevator. The contractor claimed that it was not able to pay the workers since the developer was in default of 24 million renminbi. The developer, on the other hand, claimed that it did not owe so much money. The head of the developer company orally promised to settle the payment after the National Day holiday.

· Training courses for sanitation workers in Shanghai: workers that qualify will receive a certificate of occupational skill. (Sina News, Sept. 27) – Sanitation workers will have the opportunity to receive a certificate of occupational skill! Today, the very first sanitation training course was offered in Shanghai. Participants will receive the level five certificate of occupational skill issued by the Bureau of Labor and Social Security of Shanghai if they complete 100 credit hours of theoretical and practical training and pass the examination. The training targets the city’s street sanitation workers.

· One worker killed by a truck at a construction site in Shishi. (, Sept. 27) – Yesterday at around 2:30pm, a man was killed by a truck at a construction site in the Changfu district of Shishi. A worker present at the scene told the reporter that the truck backed up into a worker who was passing by and killed him. A man, who preferred to stay anonymous, told the reporter that trucks move fast on the construction site and there are many trucks, creating a lot of noise. At around 5pm, the reporter found a management staff close to the sign of “China Construction Third Engineering Bureau” who denied the occurrence of any accidents.

· Owner of a decoration company “missing”; workers having hard time recovering 27,000 RMB in overdue wages. (Jiujiang News, Sept. 27) – Guangzhou Tuo Mei’er accepted a contractto decorate for Jiujiang Tobacco Administration. The project was completed, and the owner of the company suddenly disappeared after being in default of the wages for several months. The Tobacco Administration claimed that, legally speaking, it could not pay the workers directly; it could only pay the company first. The city’s Bureau of Labor Supervision had notified the Administration that the money should be frozen at the moment. The Administration is working diligently to settle this matter for the workers.

Editor: Leo Liu

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