The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chinese workers strike

May 8, 2006

In March, thousands of workers struck Yunnan Textile for four days. This company, located in Yunnan Province in southeast China, created a so-called “employee committee” to decide on restructuring. But there were only bosses and city officials on this committee – not even one representative of the workers.

Striking workers gathered in front of Yunnan headquarters to demand a meeting with management. They were told there would be layoffs, with compensation. But the compensation was the ridiculous amount of $108 for each year on the job. And for those NOT laid off, working conditions would get worse. For example, working hours are supposed to increase from 8 to 12 hours per day without any increase in pay!

The workers decided to write and sign a protest, which they collectively delivered to city officials. The workers also denounced the bosses who had just generously rewarded themselves for these changes with large numbers of stocks in Yunnan Textile.

And what did city officials do? They assured the strikers that workers would be able to participate in decisions about this restructuring of the company. So, pleaded these politicians, would the workers please go back to work?

Capitalism uses the same methods everywhere, with the same excuses. So it is only to be expected that workers will have the same reactions everywhere!