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China bra factory workers strike over 'bully' boss

24 november 2011, 11:11
More than 400 female workers at a bra factory in southern China cut off the power and downed tools after a manager told one to "jump off a roof and go to hell", AFP reports, citing state-run media on Tuesday.

Workers wearing pink overalls walked off the job at Top Form Underwear after a Cantonese-speaking boss verbally abused a Mandarin-speaking worker who didn't understand instructions, the New Express reported.

The strike in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen is the latest in a string of actions driven by worker dissatisfaction in the Pearl River Delta, known as the workshop of the world for the millions of Chinese migrant workers employed by factories there.

Last week, more than 7,000 workers at a factory in nearby Dongguan making New Balance, Adidas and Nike shoes went on strike, clashing with police in a protest over layoffs and wage cuts.

Workers at Top Form had earlier complained of management bullying, and criticised a shift in February from a regular base monthly salary of 500 yuan ($79) plus overtime to a system that paid them per bra they completed.

The piecework system prevented them from making enough money to meet the rising cost of living, they said.

The company's management "takes this incident very seriously and they are making progress today" in negotiations with the workers, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong-listed Top Form who asked not to be named told AFP.

"Most of the factory is back to work today."

Telephone calls to the factory itself went unanswered and the local government did not respond to an AFP request for information.

The company spokeswoman said the Shenzhen factory accounted for less than 10 percent of Top Form's production capacity worldwide. The company web site says it also has undergarment factories in Foshan, Longnan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

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