On 3rd of January workers at Lin Electronics Factory in Dongguan, Guangdong, started strike action after finding a dead mouse in their soup, served at a New Year's celebration banquet.
After initially denying the presence of the dead mouse in the food, the management accepted responsibility and tried to calm the situation down by offering workers a measly 10 RMB compensation each. The workers rejected this and went on strike.
This was not a one off incident. Apparently mice have been present in the food before along with cockroaches and sand. And to top it off the portions are apparently not enough to fill the workers.
A local news reporter followed up the story by investigating the cooking facilities, only to encounter foul smells, kitchen staff not been provided with adequate uniforms or health and safety skills as well as seeing a mouse eating left over food just outside the kitchen.
The management realised quite quickly that they would have to do more and are now promising to eat alongside the workers to make sure the food is up to a satisfactory standard.
The original Chinese news source for this story can be found here.
This is just one (although slightly strange) incident of many in the first couple of weeks of 2012 in China, showing workers taking action against the terrible conditions and pay they are being given.
It is incidents such as these that are the final straw for many workers to take action. Often there are years of workers being pissed off from unsatisfactory pay and conditions, then one seemingly small incident (such as this one) causes the workers to let the boss' know that enough is enough. A couple of ther incidents taken from a CLB report, illustrate this well.
- 13 February 2009: A strike at Thermo King Dalian Transportation Refrigeration Co., Ltd. in Shenzhen was triggered simply by the management announcement that the autumn factory trip for that year had been cancelled. This seemingly trivial matter led to an outpouring of anger from workers at their level of pay and benefits. Some employees said the company had not increased basic wages in over a dozen years.
- 24 February 2010: Several hundred workers at the Lifeng switch factory in Huizhou‘s Boluo went on a ―walkabout after management gave workers just two yuan each in ―lucky money after the Lunar New Year holiday. Some of the strikers said they earned less than 1,000 yuan a month, which left them with almost nothing after the cost of meals, lodging and other daily expenditures not covered by the company.