Thousands protest at Dongguan's largest shoe factory

Thousands protest at Dongguan's largest shoe factory

Want China Times

Several thousand workers from Dongguan's largest shoe factory, Yue Yuen, took to the streets on Sunday to protest a disagreement over benefits and labor contracts, reports Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po.

The protesters are accusing the shoemaker of deceiving staff by giving the same social security benefits to workers who have been with the company for more than 10 years as to casual staff and of signing void labor contracts. The factory has reportedly promised to give staff an official response by April 14 and claims that production has not been affected.

Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, headquartered in Hong Kong and established by its Taiwanese parent company Pou Chen Group is the largest branded athletic and casual footwear manufacturer in the world. Its Dongguan factory was established in 1988 and employs more than 60,000 workers who make shoes for major brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok.A worker surnamed Yang told the paper that several workers at the factory recently became aware that their social security benefits were based on income far lower than their actual earnings. Yang said he had been working for Yue Yuen for 20 years and earns about 3,000 yuan (US$485) per month on a labor contract without a limited term. After checking with local authorities, however, he discovered that his employer had been paying social security benefits based on a salary of just 1,810 yuan (US$290), a level equivalent to casual workers.

Another worker, surnamed Li, said he has been working at Yue Yuen for more than 10 years but when he tried to enroll his child at a Dongguan school using his employment contract he was told that the document was legally void. Many of his colleagues have also experienced the same thing when trying to enroll their own children, he added.


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