Shanghai workers seize electronics plant

More than 1,000 migrant workers in Shanghai went on strike and held 18 managers hostage for a day and a half following a dispute over the introduction of a draconian new disciplinary policy, which including strict time limits on bathroom breaks and fines for being late. Hundreds of riot police were mobilized to the Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company plant, after workers seized the complex Jan. 18 and held captive 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers. To give them a taste of their own medicine, the managers were prevented from using the toilet for the duration of their detention. They were released unharmed after the bosses agreed to withdraw the new speed-up policy, issued an apology for its introduction, and promised a pay raise. However, clashes broke out between workers and police after the managers were released, leaving several workers hospitalized, including with broken bones. (, Jan. 23; AP, Jan. 22; South China Morning Post, Jan. 21)

  1. Nokia workers in China protest sale to Microsoft
    Workers from a Nokia factory in southern China protested outside their workplace on Nov. 20 after the company sold its mobile telephone business to Microsoft Corp in September. Reuters reports that the workers from the Dongguan Zhangmutou Towada Electronics Factory (Guangdong) are demanding compensation they say is owed to them by factory management. They also fear that the sale will result in worse employment terms and working conditions. (Manufacturers Monthly, Nov. 21)

    Dongguan also saw a strike and street protests by shoe factory workers demanding the payment of wage arrears in early October. China Labour Bulletin recorded 52 incidents on its Strike Map in October, up from 40 in the previous month. These protests sometimes spilled over into conflict with police and security forces, with at least nine protests leading to confrontations and arrests.