On 18 August 2014 over 10,000 port truckers in Ningbo, China, went on strike, not having had a raise in over 8 years. The strike lasted almost a week, with management offering a 12% raise. It involved nearly the entire trucking fleet of Ningbo, which is China's 3rd busiest port and the world's 6th busiest. During the strike, the port was paralyzed and ships were diverted to Shanghai.
The strike took place at Beilun, which is Ningbo-Zhoushan's seaport, in addition to other inland ports that make up the larger port authority. According to some estimates, it's even the largest in China in terms of capacity, surpassing Shanghai. Truck drivers participated en masse and locked down all the container yards, preventing scabs from picking up containers. They are agitating primarily for an increase in piece-rate load payments that haven't risen in 8 years, while living costs have doubled in the same period, along with oil prices.
The sequence of events, roughly:
- - 200 drivers from mostly smaller companies go on strike on the 18th
- - one report says strike expanded to 60% of the workforce on the 19th, but others suggest this didn't happen until the 20th; in any case, workers start to occupy the larger container yards -- there are 6 terminals, each with several dozen yards and prevent scabbing trucks from picking up containers; tacks are laid at the main entrance to the port
- - on the 20th, all the forces get called in -- military police, special police, border guard, regular police -- but are not enough to handle the workers, 2 drivers are arrested and more arrested marching on the police station to demand their release
- - 22nd, a 12% rate increase goes into effect, which the industry business association says was planned anyway
- - 24th things are clearing up, and the 25th reports say the port is back to operating as usual
There are many images of people beaten by the police but no reports about egregious weaponry usage or really mass violence by the police.
No reports were heard of any concessions any higher than the 12% rate increase offered, which is a depressing result.
Ningbo striker demands
1) The problem of increasing load payments
2) The problem of withheld payments, protect the driver fleets' meager rights
3) Payments must be made monthly
4) The problem of improper fees charged at the container yards
5) All types of container number ANS problems
6) The problem of shipping companies having no containers in the warehouse
7) The problem of shipping companies messing up shipping dates
8) The problem of all types of billing fees and barcode fees
9) The problem of container yard hotlines
10) The problem of traffic jams at the container yards, containers should be evenly distributed among yards.
The industry is comprised of around 500 independent trucking companies in Beilun, but about 70% belong to a single industry association. Some truckers work directly with the companies as employees, but a majority are like North American independent contractor troqueros, who get their own trucks and register under (挂扣) a particular company (of course in the U.S. and Canada the classification of "independent-contractor" is a legal fiction). Some own more than one truck and hire others to drive for them, but also drive themselves, and in this way they earn more than being a company employee. According to a report by a Chinese labor scholar, pay is roughly 8000 yuan per month for an employee and 10,000 for someone with their own truck, but another earlier report said its only 5-6000 per month. Both reports suggest trucking fees per haul are roughly 200 yuan, some 3/4 of which disappear in oil costs, road tolls, and other fees during the journey, leaving a few hundred for the driver, but also this must also be used to pay for vehicle maintenance. Each driver is contracted for a particular route, similar to the way rural bus systems work. They don't get to see each other a lot, and runs tend to take up full days.
Some aftermath of the strike, Beilun freeways have been jammed for a week due to increased traffic trying to catch up with the backlog.
The ACFTU has posted a note about Beilun holding a labor relations mediation, labor law oversight, and labor dispute resolution training in Beilun on the 27th, but of course no mention of why it is being held: http://acftu.workercn.cn/30/201408/27/140827104840724.shtml
Four of China's five largest ports have seen strikes in the past 3 years--Shanghai truckers in 2011, Hong Kong and Shenzhen dockers last year, and Ningbo now. Just as quickly as this strike exploded it disappeared with almost no trace. The Ningbo government enforced a complete news blackout, making it even more difficult to follow the aftermath of the strike.
The following are photos, along with selected translations (thanks to J. in China):
On August 20th, in Zhejiang's city of Ningbo, the port of Beilun's container truckers' strike is in its third day. The number of drivers of strike is approaching 10,000, and they continue to block roads to stop all remaining operating vehicles. At noon, after police arrested two demonstrating drivers, intense conflict broke out between several thousand drivers and several hundred police, several trucks and police cars were smashed and many drivers were beat up and arrested. At present, drivers and police are at a stalemate. Due to shipping payments having stagnated for 8 years, Beilun's port truckers started striking on August 18th.
The port of Ningbo has been shut down by the driver teams' strike. According to the latest updates, on Beilun Way, vehicles are being stopped, smashed, and seized, entirely preventing regular logistics companies from operating.
Having nothing to your name is the reason to struggle
Demanding survival and increased payments, Ningbo container truck drivers are on strike. Drayage payments have not increased in eight years. We can't take it any longer. We need to survive. Three days into our strike, the special police [equivalent to SWAT teams] have started to come out and beat people. Is there still heavenly justice this year? Where is the justice?
The situation is escalating. In the eastern bonded area, the crowd is demanding release of arrestees.宁波北仑集卡司机因运费过低不满，导致近万人罢工。罢工第三天。之前北仑各个堆场被堵，由于效果不是太明显，导致今天上午所有罢工司机在进港路（集卡车较多路段）集合，遇到还在运营的集卡车就拦下，并砸车打人。公安武警边防现场维持秩序时，与罢工司机发生冲突，几千名罢工司机拿砖头向武警砸去。
Ningbo Beilun container truck drivers' dissatisfaction with excessively low drayage payments has resulted in nearly 10,000 people on strike. It is the third day of the strike. Early, every one of Beilun's container yards were blocked. As the effects were not very apparent, this morning striking drivers gathered on the road entering the port (the segment with a relatively large amount of container trucks), blocking any container truck still operating, smashing the car and beating people. When the police, military police and border patrol attempted to maintain order at the scene, they clashed with striking drivers. Thousands of striking drivers pelted military police with bricks.宁波集装箱大罢工政府排武警特警镇压
Ningbo container mass strike, government sends military and special police to suppress
宁波口岸集卡大面积罢工 第三天了外贸还能不能做 ？宁波的货代朋友们这几天是不是都集体休息了
The port of Ningbo's container truckers are in the third day of a broad strike. How will foreign trade go on? Have all of our Ningbo freight forwarding friends been collectively resting these past few days?
Ningbo Beilun's container [trucking] industry strike, cars smashed, thousands assembled. A large deployment of special police beating and arresting people.
The 18th, the Port of Ningbo's container truck drivers strike, sinking the Port of Ningbo's container land transportation business into paralysis. At present, every major Ningbo Beilun container yard is guarded night and day by container truck drivers; picking up containers is prohibited. The main road into the port has been littered with iron tacks. Container trucks crowd both sides of Beilun's roads. The Beilun container transport center is already filled with container trucks. As of now, there are no signs of things easing up. The strike is ongoing...
Ningbo's driver teams have finally been pushed over the edge!宁波集装箱车队罢工要求涨运价。看样子，事儿闹大了…
Ningbo's container truck drivers request increased drayage payments. It looks like things are getting serious...@爆新鲜 宁波北仑集卡协会。现场一片狼藉
Ningbo Beilun 's container trucking association. The scene is all chaos货两天都出不了啦！北仑在打仗啦！
Freight hasn't made it out in two days! It's war in Beilun!
Day three of the strike: noon, the conflict grows, special police and military police impose order, please everybody take care in this period not to arrange shipments, drivers and vehicles may both be endangered by forcibly picking up containers, please show consideration
According to revelations from a related government official, this strike has already set the entire province of Zhejiang on alert. Every freight forwarder, factory, and even the government is watching. If they don't succeed, container [truckers] will fact all kinds of crises. If I may offer a piece of advice to all the non-locals [migrants] of Beilun's handling companies, you must stick together and be united. Turn your forces in the same direction. Don't secretly pick up containers. Your gamble will result in huge losses for this strike! We are all non-locals, locals will not respect us. Friends with courage and uprightness, keep it up! Staunchly press for increases in Ningbo city's container drayage rates!
Today, August 20, 2014, all of Beilun's container truckers are on strike. The reason is just one word. Money. Money can kill people... but still, I wish them success in realizing their dreams
Beilun's container truckers are on strike. I can take this opportunity to get some good rest for a few days
宁波北仑热闹起来了 钱啊 是谁制造了钞票
Ningbo Beilun is heating up. Oh, money. Who was it who invented money?北仑的闹剧还在上演大白菜
Beilun's drama is still unfolding
The government doesn't take action; the common people fight for their own interests!@爆新鲜 宁波北仑事件
The Ningbo Beilun incident宁波北仑。集装箱驾驶员集体罢工了
Ningbo Beilun. Container drivers are on strike
A troop of special police are hurrying towards the streets of Beilun, the people's cries sound out continuously.特警收兵，平安无事。
The special police are retreating, safe and without incident.
The cries sound out again, the special police go again.
A bunch of special police are at the scene.
The usually busy crossroad going into the port is empty today, no one in sight and not one container, the strike continues...
huge Beilun container trucker riot
Because Ningbo city's Beilun port's drayage payments are too low, making it impossible for drivers to survive, large demonstrations have erupted
"Brothers hold it down for me! Those of you across the street, if you don't move I'll hit you with the cannon!"
"What are you surrounding this empty space for?"
Strike in the Ningbo bonded area. Very intense yet not covered by the media
Ningbo Beilun's drayage payments have not increased a wit in 8 years. Finally a collective drivers' demonstration and strike has erupted. 80% of Beilun's container trucks have stopped operation.
[Live coverage] Friends of Beilun District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, please keep it up! Beilun's container truckers strike and the government sends police, anti-riot squads, special police, and border patrols to suppress it. Hehe. All we want is a little increase in drayage!是宁波北仑港区保税区的集体罢工事件，警察特警你们好威武啊！ |320省道
This is the strike of the Beilun Port bonded area of Ningbo. Police and special police, you are powerful!
August 20th, Ningbo's container truck drivers are in the third day of their strike, the feeling of dissatisfaction continues
Beilun's container truck drivers mass strike
Third day of striking for an increase in drayage, getting more and more intense
Ningbo Beilun's container truckers are on strike, special police are beating people
This drivers' strike is pretty serious! The statement released by the association this morning was completely useless for the drivers' side of things! Better just to as far as possible notify customers to extend their shipment dates
In the middle of the Ningbo port strike, what to do about my goods, none of it can be shipped, it'll all generate fees, heaven grant this strike ends quickly, best of luck
The port of Ningbo, one of the four major international deep water transit ports targeted for development on the Chinese mainland, is in its third day of strikes because of land transport drayage prices. Now the special police are even beating people. What kind-hearted media or government person will help us common people
What?! What?! Container truck drivers on strike?!
The strike has gone on for a day. I hear only vehicles inside the port are operating. Tacks are scattered across the area, car windows are broken... the response is intense
If the drivers had chosen the week before National Day [Oct 1] to strike, the effects would be even better
群体性事件，据说是因为八年没长工资引起的，太疯狂！用集装箱堵路还在车厢上用石头扔警察，太过了，严重扰乱秩序，现在已封路！@-捕快二宝- @活到2012的白菜 会刑事拘留吗？
Mass incident, they say it's because wages have not gone up in 8 years, too crazy! Using containers to block roads and throwing rocks at police from on top of the containers, that's too much, a serious disturbance of order, the roads have already been closed! Will people be detained?
The scene at Ningbo's eastern bonded area is growing more and more spectacular. There are more than 10,000 people here, cute-boy special police hand-in-hand. All the pretty girls know to clap and scream. (10,000+ people, only a few hundred special police), check out the video
宁波集装箱车队因为生存问题自发罢工却遭地方政府无故阻挠、出动大批警力，随便抓人，现场情绪激奋，随时可能引发流血冲突！为嘛只有警察镇压，没有智能部门出面解决问题，非要出人命才有人愿意出来呢？@CCTV焦点访谈 @新浪新闻 @公安部打四黑除四害 @高晓松|明州西路
In the end it still has to be resolved
Beilun's container truck strike, control lost at the scene
The situation is getting more and more serious! Everyone be rational!
The clouds over Beilun---war movie. Ningbo drivers strike, it's already fought with police, the situation is even more intense than the last two days!
Beilun container truckers strike to survive, they call in martial force to suppress. Justice is in the people's hearts.
Container truck drivers are on strike, they've blocked the container yards and won't let people pick up containers, are demanding increased drayage. This weeks' goods are growing fungus, next week when I come back I'll have to face hell
94何必问北仑集装箱集体罢工，在进港路上堵截提箱的车子！谁开工砸谁的车！不准私自干活！！！难道新闻不报吗？还是会和谐 @NBTV看看看 @西门町吃在宁波
北仑集装箱车队全体罢工，要求涨运费，运费8年未涨，目前相关部门还未介入，罢工还在持续。@北仑海事 @西门町吃在宁波 @宁波同城会 @宁波日报 @人民日报 @宁波民生e点通 @高速交警宁波支队 @看宁波 @宁波海事局 @新浪宁波 @宁波市交通委
Ningbo's Beilun Port, container truck drivers are on strike. Today is high tide. Currently the rogue masses are assembled, whoever dares to pick up containers in the port area if they're lucky will have their container snatched, if they're not will have their car smashed and be beaten. This is a strike? A strike that obstructs exports, the whole world knows, but weibo [Chinese social media] doesn't know, Ningbo nightly is sleeping and the Daily is on vacation, Ningbo is publishsing Beilun vacations and Ningbo good eats, the world goes on peacefully, how wonderful!
On August 18th, in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, because drayage rates have not gone up in 8 years, several hundred Beilun port drivers went on strike demanding increased drayage rates. By the 19th, 60% of Ningbo's container truck drivers had joined, striking trucks reached several thousand, all of Beilun's container yard entrances were blocked, the main entrance to the port was covered with tacks, several vehicles that had not joined the strike were smashed and container pick-up was completely paralyzed. A large deployment of police was on the alert.