Saturday, April 19, 2014
Chinese shoe makers strike
A strike at the Chinese factories of the world's biggest athletic shoe maker snowballed last week to about 30,000 workers, a labour group said, making it one of the largest-ever work stoppages at a private business in China. Workers in the southern city of Dongguan want Taiwanese-owned Yu Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd., which makes shoes for companies such as Nike and Adidas among others, to make social security contributions required by Chinese law and meet other demands. The work force has been striking in increasing numbers in on-and-off stoppages since April 5. The strike at a massive 10-factory complex is the latest in a wave of unrest at factories in China, where labour shortages and a rising cost of living have made the migrant workers from the countryside who keep Chinese industry running increasingly assertive. The strike reflects a growing focus on retirement benefits among Chinese migrant workers who previously were content to receive fewer benefits in return for higher paychecks. Nike and Adidas have been monitoring the situation and have indicated that the supply chain has not really been troubled so far. Yue Yuen's plants in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and the United States make about 21.5 million pairs of shoes each month.