The largest strike in China’s history has entered the sixth day, defying state attempts to repress workers struggling against economic and social injustice. Police arrested several organizers of the strikers at the Yue Yuen factory, which produces shoes for Nike and Adidas.
As the situation deteriorates, the thousands of workers are ever angrier after the management of the factory completely denies any violations in the payment of their social security. Workers in Dongguan, where exists the largest labor rights movement, have taken solidarity actions with the strikers of Yue Yuen. Large numbers of workers in Dongguan – apparently in thousands – took it to the streets to protest wage injustice and the government’s oppression of migrant workers, and to demand the government pay the social security it owned to the workers.
The Dongguan workers warned the Yue Yuen strikers that the government and the companies want to use force against them.
The production of the factory is almost paralized, as party cadres have started a smearing campaign against workers calling them “traitors”. The police arrested several organizers. Strikers battled special police troops, SWAT, on the streets. They threw water bottles at riot police SWAT, which attacked them brutally and arrested several of them.
When the wife of an organizer learned that the police arrested her husband during the fifth night, thousands of people flocked the administrative center and all shouted that Mr. Yang be released immediately.
According to the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Dispute Service on April 17th, the police arrested at their home the youngest workers on strike and took them away. Next day, demanding their release, thousands of workers took it to the streets, but their march was blocked and many demonstrators were taken away by the police. Some seem to have been arrested just for taking pictures of the unrest. Lots of plainclothes police – apparently in their hundreds – were deployed among the demonstrators to steal their phones so they could not take any pictures.
The number of the workers gathering outside the factory and refusing to work was well over 20,000.
The companies and the government made a third set of proposals, hoping to convince the strikers to go back to work. Apparently the state and the companies admitted they owe unpaid social security to each worker, and they promised to finance the housing fund, but the workers did not gave up, and the factory strike continued unabated.
According to the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Dispute Service workers continued their strike, because the responses they got from the government were not satisfactory. What seems to have angered them terribly was the fact that the factory management completely denied that they committed any violations in the payment of the contributions for the workers’ pensions and other social security.