Guangdong, China (AFP). Le rivolte popolari continuano. Centinaia di lavoratori, licenziati da una fabbrica di giocattoli si scontrano con la Polizia, rivoltando auto e furgoncini della polizia e danneggiando i macchinari della fabbrica. E’ accaduto nella provincia del Guangdong dove la fabbrica Kaida Toy Factory di proprietà di una compagnia di Hong Kong sta licenziando personale. Il Governo di Zhongtang afferma che almeno 500 lavoratori hanno partecipato alla protesta.
GUANGDONG, China (AFP) – – Hundreds of workers sacked from a toy factory in China clashed with police and smashed buildings, authorities said Wednesday, in the latest bout of violent unrest linked to rising unemployment.
The riot occurred Tuesday in Guangdong province, southern China’s export heartland where similar protests have flared recently, after about 2,000 workers gathered to demand severance pay, according to the local government.
The workers smashed offices at the factory where they used to work and overturned police cars, with the violence leaving six people injured, the government of Zhongtang township where the unrest occurred said in a statement.
“(Rioters) smashed one police vehicle and four police patrol cars… fought with security guards… and entered factory offices breaking windows and destroying equipment,” the statement said.
The riot occurred at the Kaida Toy Factory, a company owned by a Hong Kong firm in Zhongtang that is in the process of laying off workers, the statement said.
A Zhongtang policeman surnamed Huang told AFP that 19 people had been arrested.
“Our investigation is continuing as not all of these people were employees of the Kaida Toy Factory,” Huang said, adding that the situation was calm on Wednesday and authorities were looking to ensure there was no more unrest.
The Zhongtang government said that up to 500 workers were responsible for the riot, while 1,500 others “looked on.”
The factory has been operating for more than 20 years and employed up to 6,500 workers, according to the government statement.
One worker surnamed Hu told the Guangzhou Daily the factory laid off over 380 workers on Wednesday last week, giving more severance pay to workers who had been employed for more than seven years and less to other workers, it said.
“Many workers thought this was unfair and negotiations between the factory and the workers did not reach a resolution on the issue,” the paper quoted Hu as saying, adding more job losses were expected this week.
Southern China has enjoyed an export-driven boom in recent years supplying the world with cheap toys, gadgets and clothes.
But amid the downturn in the global economy, coupled with rising labour costs, expensive raw materials and the appreciation of the Chinese currency, factories have found it difficult to make ends meet.
Up to 7,000 laid-off workers staged a similar protest in Guangdong last month after another Hong Kong-owned toy factory, one of China’s biggest, closed down.
China‘s social security minister, Yin Weimin, last week described the employment situation across the country as “critical”, as the nation’s police chief warned his deputies that this could lead to unrest.
“(You) should be aware of the challenge brought by the global financial crisis and try your best to maintain social stability,” Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu told his deputies.
China‘s economy has slowed sharply in recent months amid the global crisis, and the World Bank has forecast growth of 7.5 percent for next year, which would be the nation’s slowest expansion in nearly two decades.
However the Zhongtang government maintained that the layoffs at the Kaida toy factory were not directly linked to the global economic downturn, rather an expiration of labour contracts.
Kaida’s mainland operations were not immediately available to comment.