Coal Workers Strike in Central China

September 2, 2009 9:55 pm Last Updated: September 3, 2009 3:42 am

Over 2,000 coal mine workers in Central China’s Hunan Province have been on strike for ten days, but no mainland media have dared to touch the topic.

The workers are from four coal mines belonging to Jinzhushan Mining Industry of Hunan Coal Group (Xiang Mei Ji Tuan, XMJT). Mining operations stopped Aug. 22

The strike was triggered by XMJT’s plan to be listed on the stock market. Thus, Jinzhushan, as part of XMJT, was required to convert from a state-owned enterprise into a privately owned company.

However, XMJT refused to give workers compensation for their previous years of work. Instead, they asked workers to sign a new contract with them as a new company. All the workers rejected this arrangement.

The workers told The Epoch Times that no mainland media dared to tell their story, although they had contacted dozens of them. They had also posted messages on blogs in China, but these were quickly deleted.

A lady who identified herself as the family member of a miner said that, so far, no negotiators have come to help resolve the issue.

“Workers think the new contract is unfair as it includes no financial compensation for one’s previous years of work. All the workers are now unwilling to sign the new contract,” she said.

“A miner who had worked for years and was now ready to retire would get no compensation according to the terms of the contract.” The woman added that miners are being threatened with loss of employment if they refuse to sign the contract.

A male worker told The Epoch Times, “Workers from four mines are on strike and haven’t reported to work since the strike began. They want compensation for their years of work; otherwise they are not going to sign.”

The Epoch Times spoke to one cadre at Jinzhushan. “I can’t tell you anything. You should ask others,” he said.

Another miner posted a report on the internet indicating that the company has organized manpower and intends to drive the miners away with force. “Now they have gathered a Mine Protection Brigade. They are paying them 200 yuan (approximately US$29.27) a day to drive us out with force. They’ve also called in rogues, and they’ll probably take action today,” he wrote.