Sat, Dec 03, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Striking workers clash with police in Shanghai: group

AFP, SHANGHAI

More than 1,000 workers at a plant in Shanghai have been on strike for at least two days, some clashing with police, to protest staff being laid off, a rights group said yesterday.

Several workers were injured in conflicts with police at the factory, owned by a Singapore electronics firm that supplies companies including Apple and computer maker Hewlett Packard, US-based China Labor Watch said in a statement.

The protest broke out on Wednesday after the company laid off about 1,000 people.

Staff claimed they were fired without notice and given inadequate compensation, China Labor Watch said. The workers were laid off because the company plans to move production elsewhere.

The strike appeared to be continuing yesterday, with more than 50 workers wearing blue uniform jackets standing inside the factory as police in two vehicles looked on.

The factory’s owner, Singapore-based Hi-P International, said the impact of the strike was “very minimal” and said it was “working with the relevant authorities.”

Shanghai police could not be reached for comment yesterday. A police statement on Thursday put the number of strikers at more than 100 and said they blocked the gate of the factory — which makes home appliances — and disrupted production.

The unrest comes as China’s exports and manufacturing activity weaken, hit by falling demand caused by economic woes in Europe and the US.

Last month, more than 7,000 workers went on strike at a factory making New Balance, Adidas and Nike shoes in Guangdong Province, clashing with police in a protest over layoffs and wage cuts. Also last month, hundreds of female workers walked off the job at a bra factory in Shenzhen, the manufacturing metropolis that borders Hong Kong, to demand overtime payments.

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