Pangang Steel and Vanadium Factory Workers Protest in Chengdu, Sichuan

16:41 Jan 4 2012 Chengdu China

Pangang Steel and Vanadium Factory Workers Protest in Chengdu, Sichuan
From AFP:

In the latest strike, some 2,000 steel workers in Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu walked off the job Wednesday to protest low salaries, according to the US-based rights group China Labor Watch.

Workers at the Chengdu Steel Co blocked traffic and were dispersed by police with pepper spray, it said.

From Want China Times:

Nearly 10,000 workers at Pangang Group Steel Vanadium & Titanium in Chengdu, Sichuan went on strike Jan. 4, demanding higher wages. According to internet reports, some of the workers were beaten and injured in a clash with about 1,000 armed police officers.

Several thousands workers reportedly laid siege on a highway toll collection booth.

This was the second-largest strike in five days. On Dec. 30, thousands of workers at state-run Sichuan Chemical Works launched a strike to ask for a monthly salary increase of 400 yuan (US$63.43), and a year-end bonus of 3,000 yuan (US$475.7).

According to a microblog post, after several hours of tense confrontations, police personnel beat up a few of the protestors, injuring and forcefully dispersing them.

Five workers were reportedly arrested during the protest. A senior executive of the company said they would take the workers' demands into consideration.

Workers continued their strike, demanding that salaries be increased and that salary levels be made transparent. The operations of several furnaces were reportedly suspended.

According to reports, the company has 14,000 employees with an average monthly salary of 1,200 yuan (US$190.28). Those who have worked for more than 20 years earn 1,400 yuan (US$221.99) a month.

On Jan. 4, a senor executive promised that the company would give each worker a monthly salary increase of 260 yuan (US$41.23). However, workers demanded a hike of at least 400 yuan (US$63.43), and a year-end bonus of 3,000 yuan (US$475.7).

Workers who went on strike said their salaries were relatively low. Therefore, in light of the fact that the demands for a salary hike by the workers at Sichuan Chemical Works were met after they launched a protest last month, workers of the steel company decided to go on strike as well.

The management and employees of the company have not yet reached a consensus on salary increases.

The steel company is the largest steel manufacturing base in western China. It was previously a state enterprise under the jurisdiction of the State Council, and is now a subsidiary of the Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corp.

The company mainly produces seamless steel pipes, has an annual iron production capacity of 1.6 million tons, and an annual steel production capacity of 2.2 million tons. It participated in the construction of an airport in Shenzhen and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.

From RFA:

From RFA:

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan sent in hundreds of police to clear away thousands of striking steel-workers outside a state-run factory, as their strike for more pay entered its third day on Friday.

Management at Chengdu's Pangang Steel met with labor representatives at lunchtime, offering them a raise of 300 yuan a month, although workers had demanded an increase of 500 yuan (U.S. $78) a month.

Pangang Steel workers, who sometimes fulfill orders for China's military, typically make around 1,500 yuan (U.S. $237) per month, but were calling for a raise to 2,000 yuan (U.S. $315), rights activists said this week.

Pu Fei, a spokesman for the Sichuan-based Tianwang rights group, said some workers had sent out text messages on Friday evening saying that management were willing to continue negotiations with workers, but that strikers had so far rejected their offers.

Pangang Steel had itself sent out text messages to workers calling on them to return to work, and local authorities had deployed around 1,000 police to the scene on Friday, Pu said.

"The workers continued their reasonable defense of their rights today," Pu said. "The police sent in anti-riot squads to supervise the area."

"Right now, management is offering a very small concession, a raise of just 260 yuan a month. The workers think [this] isn't very large."

"I have heard that more than 1,000 police and riot police have arrived at the scene now."

Tense face-off

A Chengdu resident surnamed Chen said he had tried to drive past the Pangang plant on Friday. "The traffic police had cordoned off the area and the road by the factory gates," he said. "They had sealed off all three intersections, and they were all watched by police."

"They were only letting people out, but they weren't letting them in," Chen said.

He said "thousands" of striking workers were holding up banners that read, "I want a raise," and that they had marched from the factory gates as far as a nearby expressway.

After a face-off lasting several hours, police had moved in to clear the crowds, sparking clashes, he added.

Pu said the strike had been conducted in an orderly manner from the workers' side.

"The workers have been pushing for their legal rights, and they made no acts of aggression towards the police," Pu said.

"There were some police employees who perpetrated malicious revenge, pouring oil on the flames," he added. "They are still at the scene, deliberately causing clashes."

Activists said on Thursday that many people in Sichuan had been spurred on by the concessions won by rebel villagers in the Guangdong village of Wukan last month, following armed clashes over barricades between local residents angry at official corruption and armed police.

Tapped out

Meanwhile, beer-factory workers in the northeastern port city of Dalian also walked out this week in a bid for higher wages, bringing production to a halt.

Workers from the Belgian-owned Snow Brewery, packaging plant, and warehouse operations had all joined in the strike, according to a worker surnamed Huang.

The company was bought last year by Belgium-based Anheuser Busch InBev.

"That's right, [no one is working,]" Huang said. "It's all because the management is unreasonable, or they wouldn't go on strike."

"All the trucks have stopped going out, so they can't deliver any orders," he said.

An employee who answered the phone at the company headquarters said management was still waiting for clear instructions from the parent company regarding the details of employee benefits under the new ownership.

"Our company was sold in March," the employee said. Asked if the strike was about pay and benefits, she replied: "That's right. All I can say is that the stuff that's being reported on the Internet about this is true."

"Right now, the workforce is really in need of help."

Repeated calls to management-level offices went unanswered during office hours on Friday.

An official who answered the phone at the Dalian municipal government complaints office said local officials were already dealing with the matter.

"The relevant government departments are dealing with this," the official said. "I don't know the details."

"The government is very concerned about the people's welfare now this incident has happened, so they will definitely deal with this."

Reported by Grace Kei Lai-see and Lin Jing for RFA's Cantonese service, and by Qiao Long for the Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

From Baidu (this report is credited in some places to Shanghai Television and other places to "independent media"; as the TV report could not be found, I'm assuming it was either taken down or only independent media reported it):




2012年1月4日上午,成都市青白江区,攀钢集团成都钢钒公司(攀成钢)上万员工效仿“川化”举行大罢工,要求涨工资。约5千人从厂区游行至成绵高速路口,被上千警察强行阻拦。攀鋼在崗職工 14,000人,每月工資平均只有 1,200元,工齡 20年才拿到 1,400,工人大呼「沒法活啊」。昨日中午,該廠領導層到現場許諾給每人每月漲 260元,但工人要求最少加 400元,另年終獎 3,000元。廠房領導表示,要再研究考慮。

Credibility: UP DOWN 0

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