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    » 01/05/2007, 00.00

    CHINA

    Hundreds of workers protest company beatings



    Supervisors of DeCoro company in Shenzhen have been accused to ill treating three employees who refused to accept salary cuts. The police said the five attackers have been arrested. There were disputes between workers and this company already in 2005.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of workers yesterday held a protest in Pingshan (Shenzhen) outside DeCoro, an Italian sofa company, accusing supervisors of severely beating three employees who dared to ask for respect of the minimum wage. In November 2005 disputes had already taken place between the employees and the company with mutual accusations of violence made.

     

    The three workers were admitted to hospital and one was in a coma. A Longgan police officer said the five men responsible for the attack had been arrested. The company confirmed that the protest had taken place without making other comments.

     

    The protesters chanted slogans, demanded fair wages and asked police to punish the attackers. The protest finished at about 9am when most workers returned to their duties.

     

    The workers said the management had tried to lay off 75 employees with compensation amounting to less than half the minimum wage, so they demanded a meeting with the company president. About 70 workers were present at the meeting but they were assaulted by 100 security guards armed with iron bars. Three were cornered and badly beaten.

     

    Xi Ruigen, one of the injured workers, told the South China Morning Post: “Some men wearing uniforms suddenly broke into the meeting room and started to attack us. One of my colleagues suffered a serious rib fracture and lost consciousness.”

     

    In November 2005, more than 3,000 employees had already protested against the firm, claiming that an Italian supervisor had beaten three of their colleagues in a dispute over wages. Back then, a company director said the three workers were fired and had gone back to the factory and threatened the supervisor. But one worker, Liang Tian, said the company tried to make the workers accept a 20% cut in their wages on pain of dismissal, something the company denied. Another worker, Li Fangwei, said the company staff “regularly beat Chinese workers. They are like wolves. They are racists and treat us like slaves." Luca Ricci, president of DeCoro, had written a letter to apologise to the three workers and invited them to return to work, and the company has always maintained its salaries are among the best in the region.

     

    The DeCoro firm is owned completely by Italians. It was set up in Shenzhen in 1997 and has a registered capital of 2.5 million US dollars. Its turnover increased from 10 million US dollars in 1997 to around 290 million in 2004. About 75% of its products are sold in the US.

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    See also

    03/11/2005 CHINA
    Shenzhen: Italian supervisor beats workers protesting salary cut

    The firm's sales director says: "An exaggerated incident. This is not a wage cut but a redistribution of the salary grid". The workers charge: "They are racist. They treat us like slaves."



    03/03/2009 CHINA
    Jia Qinling: Maintaining order and social stability in Tibet
    The Political Consultative Conference is underway, and the National People's Congress meets in two days. The Chinese leader calls for maintaining the "harmonious society," urging that workers not be fired and their pay not be withheld in the face of a deepening economic crisis. Repression of the Tibetans has been approved. Beijing is under tighter police control than it was during the Olympics.

    11/09/2009 CHINA
    Chinese workers occupy factories, set up road blocks, only way to seek justice
    Undefended by trade unions and without any other remedy, workers often block factories and roads around them to get the authorities’ attention. The latter end up forced to mediate with management. Government-controlled trade union is noticeable for its absence. Here is the third part of a report on labour relations in China.

    10/09/2009 CHINA
    Hunan: 5,000 miners on strike for weeks amid trade unions’ indifference
    The authorities want workers to give up severance pay if they want to keep their jobs. In Communist China trade unions are noticeable for their lack of action. Anyone who goes on strike can be arrested. Here is the second part of a report on labour relations in China.

    26/05/2010 CHINA
    Wave of suicides at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant: alienating work
    The plant had its ninth suicide yesterday. It manufactures Apple components. The company reacts by insisting that it respects workers’ rights and by opening its doors to the press. Many employees complain about an alienating job regimented by military-style discipline.



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