Translation of a brief report on a strike of 2,500 workers at a shoe factory in Guangzhou that began today. As with the strike of about 50,000 workers at another company's shoe factories in the Pearl River Delta several months ago, one focus of this strike is on the company's non-payment of social security, along with factory relocation.
Translated from 劳工互助网. Also see our report on the similar but much larger Yue Yuen strike several months ago, and Gongchao's analysis of that strike in the context of the present terrain of class struggle in the PRD.
It will be interesting to see how this strike develops in relation to the recent trend of PRD strikes outlined in those articles, along with our report on the recent sanitation workers' strike, also in the Panyu district of Guangzhou.
2,500 workers from Guangzhou Panyu Lide Shoe Co. went on strike this morning. In mid-August, more than a dozen representatives seek external help when the shoe factory announced its relocation message.
However, the factory defaults years of Medicare and Social Security fund and workers are demanding the factory to recognize their legal rights. From September to the end of November, the workers held five representative meetings and a General Assembly once. On November 15, workers held a preparatory meeting for the General Assembly and decided to convene a meeting on November 23 for the establishment of an elected team of negotiation representatives on belf of the workers (later postponed). So far, the mobilization of workers' organizing has laid a solid foundation.
Beginning on November 25, the factory started to force workers to sign onto unfair changes in the labor contract. When workers refused the changes in the concract, the factory administrator threatened the workers that the refusal to sign onto changes in the labor contract means resignation from the job. The tactics the factory used to undermine the workers’ rights brought anger to the Lide workers.
Last night, the representatives of the manual division initiated the first strike today. This morning there were supports and solidarities for the strikers, coming from other workers on the factory floor and from the other workers’ representatives.
Immediately, the striking workers held a General Assembly and selected 11 negotiation representatives, at the same time, making a decision to go on a factory-wide strike. After the strike, the employer notified the workers' representatives to move to the factory theater for negotiation. 11 negotiation representatives and other workers’ representatives have made their presence, together with the general manager and other representatives from the management. The workers’ representatives have taken on the duty and responsibility for the negotiation while others support them in the strike.
This strike and negotiation has a relatively larger scale, comparing to the recent ones. Once workers become organized, capital-labor relations will alter, just like the Lide worker said: “for the dignity of the workers, we, the workers, are standing up for our rights!”
Lide workers’ organizing and mobilization is showing the power of the working class, and this proofs once again, the wisdom and the awakening of the Chinese working class. Long live the unity of the working class!