Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chinese Economy: Riots at the Nerf Toy Factory

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China Economic Unrest:
Riot at the Chinese Nerf Factory

Workers Demand Pay

Twenty years ago, "Riot at the Chinese Nerf Factory" would have been more likely to be the name of a punk rock CD than a headline about economic news.

China hasn't been insulated from world economic woes.

From Nerf factory riot in China and Workers riot at Chinese toy factory:

Riots are breaking out in factories in Dongguan as bankruptcies and layoffs throw thousands out of work with wages owing. South China, "the world's factory," is in chaos, faltering. After the mid-autumn festival, enormous numbers of workers simply stayed home in the provinces, rather than returning to work in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Dongguan.

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: "This AP story talks about a riot in the factory where Nerf toys were manufactured for Hasbro -- and no, they didn't fight with Nerf bats."

According to AP: "Shipping containers on trucks in the factory's courtyard were loaded with Hasbro boxes containing Nerf toys."

One report said the violence was touched off when the owner of the plant, Hong Kong's Kader Holdings Co. Ltd., began laying off 216 migrant workers--the factory employs 6500. Some 80 senior workers complained that they were shorted on severance pay. These 80 mobilized a mob of 500 friend and unemployed workers.

"The factory's management and the local officials really look down on the workers," said one laid-off worker who would only give his surname, Qiao, because he feared criticizing the company might jeopardize his chance of getting any compensation.

Qiao accused the police of igniting the riot. "The workers just got angry because the police hit them first," said the 30-year-old migrant from the southwestern province of Sichuan, devastated by last May's monster earthquake.

Basic pay for an assembly-line worker at the factory is 770 yuan ($112) a month, with overtime rare now that most of the Christmas orders have been filled.

Note to all those who believe China is ready to swallow up the USA: China's got economic problems of its own.

[Unrest by workers] is "a major concern in major industrial zones in Guangdong, which has been hit hard by a series of factors: rising costs of wages and raw materials along with currency fluctuations and the global financial crisis. More than 7,000 companies in Guangdong have gone bust or moved elsewhere in the first nine months of the year, the official China Daily newspaper recently reported."

One prediction: this will not be the last story readers will see about civil unrest over economic problems in China.

by Mondo
image: dbkp file

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