Workers at an LG Display factory in eastern China have gone on strike, halting some production, the company said yesterday, in the latest show of strength by China’s increasingly assertive labor force.
The front gate of the LG factory was guarded by police who lined up along the street, obscuring what was happening inside, while two black police trucks waited nearby. However, there were no signs of outright confrontation.
A spokeswoman in Seoul for the South Korean company, Claire Ohm, confirmed the labor dispute after an earlier report by the New York-based China Labor Watch that said the strike began on Monday, triggered by anger over year-end bonuses that workers say favored South Korean staff.
“Some of our production has been suspended,” Ohm said about the Nanjing plant.
She did not confirm that bonus issues were the cause of the strike.
Ohm did not say how many workers had stopped work or how much production had been curtailed.
“We and the Nanjing city government are jointly negotiating with workers to smoothly reach an agreement and we expect the problems to be resolved soon,” she said.
Officials in several Nanjing government departments contacted either said they had not heard about the strike or referred inquiries to other departments.
While South Korean staff at the factory received the equivalent of six months’ wages, Chinese workers received the equivalent of one month’s pay, China Labor Watch said in an e-mail. The non-governmental organization campaigns for improved labor conditions.
“The strike is still ongoing, despite threats made by management to close the plant entirely and prosecute the leaders of the strike,” China Labor Watch said of developments up to yesterday.
It said that 8,000 workers at the factory were on strike.
LG Display, the leading flat-screen maker, produces LCD modules for notebook computers and monitors at the Nanjing plant, Ohm said. The company has two other module plants in China.
Chinese Internet sites circulated pictures said to be from the Nanjing plant, with hundreds of workers massed at a factory building and standing around a toppled Christmas tree. It could not be confirmed whether the pictures were from the plant.
China’s industrial workers, many of them migrant workers from villages struggling to establish a foothold in urban areas, have increasingly resorted to strikes in recent years.
Earlier this month, nearly 1,000 workers at a Japanese-owned factory in southern China protested to demand compensation in accordance with their length of service after a change in the plant’s ownership, according to media reports at the time.
A succession of strikes last year disrupted production at Japanese-owned vehicle parts plants across southern China.