Reuters TV: China's labour unrest to continue in 2012

CLB Director Han Dongfang was featured in this video report on striking workers in China first broadcast on Reuters Television on 29 December 2011.


It's back to work for these workers at a factory in Nanjing in Eastern China after South Korea's LG Display, agreed to double their year-end bonus. The workers downed tools earlier this week - angry that they were getting a smaller payout than their peers in South Korea.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNKNOWN LG DISPLAY FACTORY WORKER, SAYING: "LG's headquarters in Korea is giving 6.5 times the monthly salary as a bonus, LG Chemical here is offering 4.5 times, and here they offered us a mere one month salary as a bonus…the difference is too big." It's another example of the rising power of China's workforce. A string of strikes last year disrupted production at Japanese-owned auto part plants across southern China. And there's more to come, says Han Dongfang of China Labour Bulletin.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHINA LABOUR BULLETIN FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, HAN DONGFANG, SAYING: "This will go bigger, it's not because Chinese workers are becoming greedy, it's because the workers in China is getting more aware aware of their rights. The growing unrest also suggests shifting attitudes in Beijing.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER JANE LEE, SAYING: "China's government, focused on growth, has become more tolerant of strikes in recent years as it sees higher worker wages as a way to push consumer spending." Party officials also appear more willing to take a back seat in such disputes. Han says it's the beginning of the emergence of Western-style labour relations.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHINA LABOUR BULLETIN FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, HAN DONGFANG, SAYING: "They learned their lesson, and they are willing to step out of this labour dispute, and let the labour and the employers to deal with each other, and the government role is to provide legislations to make sure it's a fair deal." And higher inflation is leading to more worker dissent.

 (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UNKNOWN LG DISPLAY FACTORY WORKER, SAYING: "Everything is rising, except for our salaries." Back in Nanjing the workers have begrudgingly accepted the deal, but they're looking for their next opportunity to boost pay. That's a guarantee for more unrest ahead.

Jane Lanhee Lee, Reuters.
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