Factory layoffs shelved after thousands protest

From Jonathan Lassen <jonathan.lassen@gmail.com>
Date Tue, 21 Dec 2004 13:12:26 -0500
Domainkey-signature a=rsa-sha1; q=dns; c=nofws; s=beta; d=gmail.com; h=received:message-id:date:from:reply-to:to:subject:mime-version:content-type:content-transfer-encoding; b=XbhKsxLhNCGPFxqK5zytCPjWg7o2EGuR104lIQGljDhtXQEi97z4DvxBTEXAOEEN0bNTVA9efvA79Pq+sc9GXcUef/yRuwRa1hmfKd6PxRdbrq3eM/eix4fXkGiTLj1R+EqwG+HzyZKcQVx3Hd5zBEdEoAtjKqs59o5ChzsHBkM=


Factory layoffs shelved after thousands protest

BYLINE: David Fang

The restructuring of a PLA-linked chemical plant in Luzhou, Sichuan
province, has been shelved after a mass protest last week which saw
several protesters arrested.

The factory resumed normal operations on Sunday after local
authorities suspended the restructuring plan, an employee said.

Last Wednesday, about 3,000 employees of the Torch Chemical Plant went
on strike after learning 1,500 workers would be laid off. Accompanied
by relatives, they demonstrated outside the factory, which was once
managed by the People's Liberation Army.

Protesters blocked the factory gate, trapping officials inside. They
demanded several months' worth of back wages and more compensation for
those who would be sacked. An employee said the restructuring plan
only set aside "a couple of hundred yuan" for each year's service.

Hours later, the officials slipped out of the factory.

The demonstrators also blocked the main road leading to the factory.
About 1,000 police officers arrived two days later, and several
protesters were detained in minor scuffles.

The local government has invested heavily in the factory but without success.