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Thousands strike at LG plant in China

28 december 2011, 18:49
Workers on strike blocking the entrance gate. ©REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Workers on strike blocking the entrance gate. ©REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Thousands of workers have gone on strike at a factory in eastern China owned by the South Korean conglomerate LG Group, a campaign group said Wednesday, as a wave of labour unrest hits China, AFP reports.

Around 8,000 Chinese workers at the plant owned by LG in the eastern city of Nanjing walked off the job saying that South Korean employees had been given higher year-end bonuses, New York-based China Labor Watch said.

Tens of thousands of Chinese workers across the country have gone on strike since November to protest over low salaries, wage cuts and poor conditions as companies cut back amid the global economic slowdown.

The latest strike began Monday and has been largely peaceful, though workers overturned furniture in the factory canteen, the group said in a statement.

Officials at the Nanjing factory declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

A video showed workers calling the labour union "useless" in a meeting with a government official who was trying to mediate in the strike.

China's ruling Communist Party fears an independent labour movement could threaten its grip on power, so it allows only a single government-linked trade union which has local branches.

The latest strikes have largely occurred in the southern province of Guangdong, a manufacturing centre, but the commercial capital Shanghai in eastern China has also experienced large-scale protests by workers.

Hundreds of workers at a Shanghai-based factory owned by Singapore electronics firm Hi-P International went on strike in late November over issues related to relocation of the plant.

Labour activists say authorities in China appear to be more sympathetic to grievances against factories funded by foreign companies or overseas Chinese investors from Hong Kong and Taiwan than domestically-owned plants.

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