China class struggle update

Taxi Strike

With all the media focusing their attention on Chen Guangcheng, Bo Xilai etc, there has been another peak of workers taking action against the harsh working and living conditions in China.

Since the end of Spring Festival, which generally makes China's industrial towns very quiet as everyone goes back to their home town for a couple of weeks, there has been a new resurgence in worker's struggles.

One reason for this is transport workers, mainly taxi drivers and bus workers, have been pissed off with their changed regulations in many parts of the country as well as other issues that they have had to constantly put up with for years, with no help from those in power to change.

On top of that there has been the usual crap hours, crap wages and getting screwed at every opportunity by their corrupt bosses. Especially in the industrial heartland of the Pearl River Delta, with workers in Guangdong, which includes Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen, being some of the most reported disputes (which has generally been the case for a number of years).

There has also been a return to action for the Foxconn workers in various parts of the country (here, here and here). If you don't remember, 300 workers working for this company threatened to jump off of their workplace roof last year due to such dire conditions at work. Apparently Apple (one of the companies that have products made by Foxconn) tried to look into the situation but they obviously don't give a fuck if their money is bloodstained as long as there is plenty of it lining their pockets.

One of the most disturbing incidents I've come across relates to mosquito coil factory workers in Hunan, who were poisoned and eventually died from their injuries at work. Families were promised compensation but the factory went back on their promise. They protested this decision, only to be beaten by police. During this time, somehow the coffin of the deceased worker was broken and the body taken away by the authorities. In solidarity, almost a thousand workers came out on strike.(The full story with photos is here, but some of the images are quite disturbing).

Blocking roads seems to be a fairly prevalent tactic used by many workers when they're not been listened to (a few examples can be found here, here, here and here). There is a workers militancy in China that seems to be far too often overlooked, which considering the authoritarian conditions they are living under, is very impressive.

To see a full breakdown of reported workers struggles and protests in China, you should check out CLB map of 'Collective Labour Incidents'.

Posted By

bulmer
May 16 2012 01:48

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  • There is a workers militancy in China that seems to be far too often overlooked, which considering the authoritarian conditions they are living under, is very impressive.

    bulmer

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