Thousands Strike at LG Plant in China

Tens of thousands of Chinese workers across the country have gone on strike since November to protest low salaries, wage cuts and poor conditions.

Thousands of workers have gone on strike at a factory in eastern China owned by the South Korean conglomerate LG Group, as a wave of labor unrest hits China.

Around 8,000 Chinese workers at the plant in the eastern city of Nanjing walked off the job saying that South Korean employees had been given higher year-end bonuses, New York-based China Labor Watch said.

Tens of thousands of Chinese workers across the country have gone on strike since November to protest over low salaries, wage cuts and poor conditions as companies cut back amid the global economic slowdown.

The latest strike began Monday and has been largely peaceful, though workers overturned furniture in the factory canteen, the rights group said in a statement.

Officials at the Nanjing factory, which makes screens for electronic products, declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

An official at the government-run development zone where the plant is located confirmed the strike was ongoing but added that the company had made an offer to raise bonuses in an effort to end the standoff.

She denied that the number of strikers was 8,000, but declined to give an estimate.

"The plant has not resumed normal operations yet, but the outlook is optimistic," she told AFP. The zone's management is mediating in the strike.

LG had offered two months' salary, instead of the previous one month, as a bonus. Workers, however, claim South Korean employees receive the equivalent of six months.

The latest strikes have largely occurred in the southern province of Guangdong, a manufacturing centre, but the commercial capital Shanghai in eastern China has also experienced large-scale worker protests.

Hundreds of workers at a Shanghai-based factory owned by Singapore electronics firm Hi-P International went on strike in late November over issues related to relocation of the plant.

Labor activists say authorities in China appear to be more sympathetic to grievances against factories funded by foreign companies or overseas Chinese investors from Hong Kong and Taiwan than domestically owned plants.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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