A three week strike involving 5,000 workers at an electronics company in Shenzhen, China, has ended after the bosses agreed to a 20% hike in pay.
The strike started on the 31st October after the factory owners, ASM materials, announced – without consultation with the unions – that it would be relocating elements of its production outside of Shenzhen. Thousands of workers walked off the job, demanding a wage rise of 3,000 Yuan a month, and a compensation package for re-location.
An understandably cynical spokesperson for the workers said that:
“The company would always claw back any gains made by the employees when the minimum wage in Shenzhen was increased. For example, we used to have a 1,000 Yuan basic salary plus 500 Yuan in subsidies, but after the minimum wage was raised to 1,200 Yuan, the company raised the basic salary accordingly, but slashed the subsidy by 200 Yuan.”
There has been widespread local media interest in the story, which led to a solidarity protest by trade unionists across the border in Hong Kong at ASM’s company headquarters.
Although falling short of their initial demands, the workers are said to be pleased that they have won a 20% pay increase and an accommodation allowance for those who are prepared to relocate, and a compensation package for those who do not wish to move.
One of the workers involved in the strike wrote on a campaign blog that:
“The strike and protest not only got us a pay rise of 20%, more importantly, it also showed the workers how to defend their rights.”
Many of the workers are planning on donating their pay rise to several colleagues who had been dismissed by the bosses for their role in organising the strike.