Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan

01:22 Oct 8 2012 Huanyu Interchange, Muye, Xinxiang, China

Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan Xinfei Electric Co. (Frestech) Workers Strike in Xinxiang, Henan
From China Daily:

Workers at a company in Henan province ended a two-day strike over low pay on Thursday.

Wang Gengming, public relations manager at Xinfei Electric Co Ltd, said the company is in talks with worker representatives over the salary issue.

According to a report in Beijing Business Today on Thursday, the strike involved thousands of workers.

Photographs were circulated online showing protesters blocking the company's gate on Tuesday. One photograph showed a strikers' poster on the wall of the company, which claimed salaries had remained stagnant for a decade.

"The monthly income of workers in the temperature control barometer workshop is 890 yuan ($142) during slow seasons and 1,200 yuan during busy seasons, which is far less than the city's average income level of 2,160 yuan," the poster read.
Xinfei Electric, founded in Xinxiang city in 1984, was a leading Chinese refrigeration products manufacturer in the 1990s. It currently has about 15,000 workers, according to the company.
In 1994, Hong Leong Group Singapore, through its subsidiary -Hong Leong Asia Ltd - bought a 51 percent stake in Xinfei. The Singaporean company increased its controlling stake to 90 percent in 2005, which Xinfei said on its website "is testimony to the confidence and commitment that Hong Leong Asia Ltd has in the company's future growth".

However, according to the protesters' poster, the company's market share has shrunk from a peak of 15 percent to less than 5 percent in the second quarter this year and its net profit stood at minus 118 million yuan for the first half of this year.
The protesters attributed the losses to Xinfei's management and called on Lian Guoqing, the company's human resources manager, and Zhang Weitian, deputy general manager in charge of production, to step down.

Workers threw eggs at Lian during a conference in August when he threatened to dismiss some of them, according to a video circulated online.

Some workers placed a photograph of the late general manager Liu Bingyin on the company's front gate along with fruit and other food to show their respect for their former boss.
Li Li, a lawyer at Xinxiang-based Henan Dazhong Law Firm, said the workers' union should push their employer for a pay raise.
"It's incredible that such a big company as Xinfei has not increased the workers' salaries for 10 years," he said.
"If the union had pushed for a pay raise earlier, this industrial action might have been avoided."

In China, most unions are weak and have little power to protect workers rights, Li added.

From CLB:

Workers at appliance-maker, Xinfei Electric Co. Ltd ended a four day strike on 12 October after management agreed to their demands for higher pay, better benefits and management reforms, the mainstream Chinese media reported today.

The dispute started on 9 October with several hundred employees gathering outside the company quarters in Xinxiang, Henan demanding a better pay deal. As the protest gained more momentum, more demands were added to the list of long-standing grievances and eventually the workers presented a detailed eight-point list of demands.

On the afternoon of 12 October, management held a press conference at which it reportedly acceded to the workers’ eight demands. Management promised to immediately raise salaries by 300 yuan to 1,500 yuan a month, and increase workers’ salaries again by another 200 yuan in January 2013.

Improvements in overtime and holiday pay were also agreed to and the company promised to remove two of the managers workers had blamed for the factory’s poor performance this year. Former executives, who the workers approved, of would return to the Singapore-invested company, Sina reported.

It is relatively unusual in labour disputes for all the workers’ demands to be accepted and the Xinfei workers were understandably pleased with their success. One employee told Sina: “This is a preliminary victory for us workers. Although it is not a big achievement, it does show the strength of the workers. We were successful; our unity got a big thumbs-up.”

Many manufacturers have or are in the process of relocating from the coastal regions to the interior of China in a bid to cut costs. However, the Xinfei strike, and the wage demands in particular, show that workers in inland provinces such as Henan still will not accept low wages and benefits even if the cost of living is generally lower than in the coastal provinces.

From Global Times:

A strike involving thousands of workers at Sino-Singaporean joint venture Xinfei Electric Co (Frestech) ended on Friday, but the rumblings of discontent are far from over.

The Henan Province-based company announced the same day at a press conference that it would meet workers' request for a monthly pay raise of 500 yuan ($79.8). Also, two middle-level Singaporean managers will be sacked and a Chinese manager who had been fired will be allowed to resume his post.

On Friday afternoon, workers began to pull down their protest banners and went back home.

However, four workers with direct knowledge of the matter told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that many workers are still not satisfied with the strike results, "and we will possibly stage another round of strike action soon."

Low wages

Thousands of Xinfei workers began the strike on October 9, demanding better pay and changes in management at the white goods manufacturer.

The strike escalated to a peak after two days as nearly 10,000 workers, accounting for about 50 percent of the total employees, halted production and gathered at the front entrance of the company with banners and posters calling for the company to raise wages.

A few representatives of workers gave speeches, and songs encouraging the workers to unite were broadcast around the company.

"I have not had a pay raise for 10 years," said one worker who has been at the company for 17 years, noting that the salaries of the working staff at Xinfei currently range from 800 yuan to 1,600 yuan a month.

By comparison, during the first half of this year, the average monthly salary in Henan Province stood at 3,126 yuan, an increase of 13.1 percent over a year earlier, according to the Henan Provincial Bureau of Statistics.

In Xinxiang, the city where Xinfei is based, the monthly salary last year was 2,160 yuan.

"But after the pay raise, my salary will be 1,580 yuan, still far below the average," said one worker, adding that considering the increasing burden of inflation and rising rent, "I feel my life is suffocating me."

According to the workers, members of the foreign management staff have annual salaries of over 500,000 yuan.

Calls to the management office of the company went unanswered.

They also want the Singaporean management team to either leave the company or make changes, according to some workers at the company. They said that the foreign side, the Singaporean Hong Leong Group, has failed to adapt to the Chinese market.

Rise and fall

Established in 1984, Xinfei became a leading refrigeration products brand in the country in the 1990s, with its fridges taking 13 percent of the market share in China at that time, according to the company.

In 2004, according to brand valuation consultancy World Brand Lab, the Xinfei brand was worth 3.788 billion yuan.

But this year the company did not give a price for the Xinfei brand because it is no longer on the list of China's 500 most valuable brands.

Hong Leong Group, which bought a 51 percent stake in Xinfei in 1994, spent S$88.8 million yuan ($52.5 million at that time) in 2005 to raise its shareholding in the company to 90 percent, according to a company statement in 2005.

Teo Tong Kooi, CEO of Hong Leong Asia, said that increasing the firm's stake in "China's second largest refrigerator and freezer maker" was part of Hong Leong's global expansion strategy, reads the statement.

According to Hong Leong, Xinfei's revenue reached S$426.3 million during the first half of 2005, an increase of 23 percent over a year earlier.

But Xinfei's golden period finished a few years later. According to statistics from Beijing-based consultancy All View Consulting, the total sales of Xinfei products dropped by 37 percent year-on-year between January and June this year. Its losses reached 118 million yuan during the same period.

"By July this year, Xinfei's share of the domestic refrigerator market had declined to 3.1 percent, which is very small for a home appliance manufacturer," said Liu Buchen, a home appliance expert at Zhengzhou-based Jiachunqiu Media Institution.

Workers blamed the Singaporean management team, saying they were not familiar with the China market and had failed to focus on research and development.

"After the company decided in August to fire a senior Chinese production manager, He Qiang, who had been engaged in research and freezer production for many years, we became angry and planned a strike during the National Day holidays," said a worker, who also said that the company frequently laid off Chinese staff with the excuse of "bad sales."

Hard to adapt

Xinfei is not the first company run by an overseas firm to have difficulty in adapting in China. In early 2011, US electronics retailer Best Buy shut down its last store in the Chinese mainland, partly owing to disappointing sales.

In 2007, Chinese washing machine manufacturer Little Swan denounced Panasonic for losses at their two joint venture companies.

But Xinfei's case is more complicated. In recent years, there have been many media reports saying Hong Leong was looking for potential buyers to take over Xinfei, with a target price of $700 million. Japan's Panasonic and Chinese home appliance giants Haier and TCL were all reportedly on the list of possible buyers.

Insiders at Xinfei said Hong Leong's selling plan has encountered major difficulties, because the price was too high.

"The possible future sale of Xinfei has hurt the confidence of the dealers who sell its products and raised doubts among consumers about the brand's ability to offer long-term services," said Liu, noting that the local government of Xinxiang, which owns a 10 percent stake in the company, is also trying to help, but in "the wrong way."

Backed by the local government, Xinxiang Xinfei Industrial Co was established in September to produce home appliances ranging from refrigerators and air conditioners to washing machines and freezers, which are "pretty much the same products that the old Xinfei is providing," said Liu.

"Two companies, under the same name and offering the same kind of products, will speed up the downward trend for Xinfei, because the situation will confuse consumers," said Liu.

Workers at Xinfei said they are not optimistic about the company, and many of them are now looking for jobs elsewhere.

From CLW:

Oct. 9th, all the workers of Henan Frestech Co., Ltd. turned out a strike after finishing a failed negotiation with management on the salary treatment. The cause of the event was workers were complaining about that there was not a raise on salary during the past decade to support their daily life so that they requested a pay talk with the leaders. However, the both sides didn't reach the agreement, thus leading this event.

From Southern Metropolis Daily:

























  数据显示,2011年,新飞冰箱总销量不足350万台,二线品牌奥马的销量已经达到460万台。来自新飞内部的消息指出,今年上半年新飞电器净利润为- 1 .18亿元,“去年亏损两个多亿,今年的亏损额也不会少于2个亿。”







  6、LG 4.8%
















  数据来源:互联网消费调研中心(Z D C)

  南都记者 王海艳 汪小星 实习生 王婧妮

From Sina:

标识由鹰变鸥成新飞罢工导火索 外资股东丰隆不作为积怨日久

























Credibility: UP DOWN 0

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