12 October 2012
(c) 2012 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, Oct. 12 -- Thousands of workers at a Sino-Singaporean manufacturer of refrigerators and freezers went on strike this week in central China's Henan Province over low wages, with the local government saying Friday the dispute has been settled.
Nearly 10,000 workers of Xinfei Electric Co., or around half its workforce, halted production and gathered at the front entrance of the joint venture in Xinxiang city with banners calling higher wages Thursday, according to state-run newspaper Global Times.
The workers' wages range from 800 yuan (about $127) to 1,600 yuan a month, much less than the province's average of 3,126 yuan, the report said.
The workers also reportedly demanded changes in the Singaporean management team, claiming it does not run the company well.
Singapore's Hong Leong Group bought a 51 percent stake in Xinfei in 1994 and raised its stake holding to 90 percent in 2005.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a Hong Kong-based human rights watchdog, said workers began striking Tuesday and continued to demonstrate Friday morning at the factory and vicinity under the watch of nearly 1,000 police officers.
A Xinxiang government spokesman, who declined to be identified, told Kyodo News by telephone that the protests had "ended peacefully" and all workers had returned to work by Friday afternoon.