01/07/2019, 14.26
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Trade war and economic slowdown spark labour protests over unpaid wages

Faced with difficulties, employers fail to pay wages and social insurance contributions. At least 35 strikes have taken place in the last three months of 2018 in garment and auto part factories.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The trade war between China and the United States and the country’s economic slowdown are sparking protests among workers in China’s manufacturing sector as employers stop paying their workers, this according to the China Labour Bulletin (CLB).

The Hong Kong-based CLB tries to raise awareness about the situation or workers in China and supports the urgent need for free trade unions in the country.

According to the CLB, the trade war and the general slowdown in China’s economy in the last quarter of 2018 have led to dozens of strikes in southern China: 16 in Guangdong, 12 in Jiangsu, and 7 in Fujian. Almost half of them were in the manufacturing sector. “The non-payment of wages remains the primary cause of these protests,” the CLB notes.

“In a bid to save their businesses during hard times, many factory owners simply stopped paying salaries. Unpaid social insurance contributions are another major factor. Without a job and with no pension, and little help from the municipal government and labour bureau, workers had no option but to stage collective protests in order to get what they were owed.”

The companies affected by the strikes include a garment factory in Panyu (Guangdong), the Zhuwei auto parts factory in Jiangsu, and the Toyo Fashion company in Fuzhou (Fujian).

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