A Chinese committee has ruled against an employer who fired 40 workers for going on strike, state media said yesterday, highlighting rising labor activism in the world’s second-largest economy.
A manufacturer in China’s eastern Fujian Province sacked 40 workers in March for striking, the state-run Global Times daily said.
The Chinese Communist Party only allows one government-linked trade union, which in the past has acted to prevent workers from striking. Yet analysts say that workers are becoming more empowered as labor shortages turn bargaining power in their favor, even though strikers still risk police detention.
A government labor panel ruled that the dismissals in China’s Fujian Province were illegal, the paper reported, citing Chinese media outlet Caixin. It added that the employer would appeal.
In a separate matter, prosecutors on Monday withdrew a case against factory worker Wu Guijun (吳貴軍) who was detained for more than a year over a protest in southern Guangdong Province, the China Labor Bulletin reported.
The Hong Kong-based group estimates that labor disputes in China have surged 30 percent year-on-year over the January-to-March period, thanks partly to a labor shortage and strikers’ increased use of social media to organize themselves.
About 30,000 workers at a Chinese factory run by Taiwanese firm Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), Ltd in April held one of China’s largest strikes in several decades.
Elsewhere in China, an anti-corruption protester stood trial yesterday in the capital, his lawyer said, as authorities press a crackdown on a rights movement pushing for greater government transparency.
Zhang Xiangzhong (張憲忠) is linked to the New Citizens Movement, whose members held small protests calling for officials to disclose their assets to curb graft. He stood trial for “credit card fraud,” said his attorney, Xie Yanyi.
“He has been targeted because of his involvement in the protests over asset disclosure,” Xie said.
He said police denied access to those hoping to attend the trial.
“It’s effectively a secret trial ... and in the view of the lawyers, it’s totally illegal,” he said.
Representatives from about 10 foreign countries tried to observe the trial, but were denied access, a European diplomat said.