500 Laid-off Bank Employees Arrested
On August 28 and 29th, former employees of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) gathered outside ICBC's Headquarters in Beijing to protest being laid-off. At least 1,000 former staff visited the scene within the two days.
According to an eyewitness, Mr. Wang, on the second day of the protest, approximately 800 employees of the ICBC participated in a sitting protest. Most of them came from the northeastern provinces such as Heilongjiang and Henan. Around 8am, the police arrived and took up guard positions around the protesters.
Mr. Wang said, “At 10:30 am, the special police started to arrest people. As they did so, ten police cars and four buses arrived at the scene. More than 500 protestors were violently arrested and sent to Majialuo appellant escorting center. Some of them escaped, and the others were released after 8 pm.”
Many protestors tried to explain to the police. The police responded, “It's useless to tell us. Go, just go and get in the bus. The State financial institutions need to be protected.”
A former employee from Heilongjiang province yelled, “What kind of country is this? Bank jobs are good jobs, so they used the reform to remove the senior staff so that they can fill the positions with their friends and families. The whole country is corrupt, and even more so is the bank. The president of the bank would earn more than a million a year while the bank is in so much debt. This country is finished.”
Another former female employee continued, “ICBC is the largest State-owned bank, and also the most corrupt. An employee working in the credit loans department could easily make a million a year, and use that to bribe the president. That's why the higher ranking staffs' relatives all work there.”
Employees were originally promised 8,000 yuan (approximately US$ 1,038) in compensation for their job termination. In the end, they were only paid one quarter of that, and both pension and medical insurances were also cut off.
Since last year, there have been many laid-off ICBC employees from all over the mainland, visiting the Beijing Headquarters. Once there, they demand that full compensation be paid, and many say that they will not stop protesting until it is resolved.