Police Break Strike at Philips in Shenzhen

By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times
September 7, 2009 5:03 am Last Updated: September 7, 2009 5:04 am
Police guard the gates at the factory. (The Epoch Times)
Police guard the gates at the factory. (The Epoch Times)

A strike by one thousand workers was curtailed by armed police in the southern China city of Shenzhen on September 2. At least two workers were injured and taken to a hospital.

The workers were employees of the local factory of Philips Respironics, a sleep and respiratory healthcare apparatus manufacturer, headquartered in the U.S. The workers were expressing their grievances with the company for changing their work hours, effecting wage deflation through various tactics, and providing inferior quality meals and benefits.

According to a worker, the strike was triggered because the factory initiated a new work policy time change as of September 1. Under the new policy, workers would lose half an hour of overtime pay, but would still be required to finish the same workload for each working day. Workers had also long been expressing dissatisfaction with the food and benefits provided by the company. Over the past year, the company had offset workers’ wages in at least one covert way, by increasing the workload.

An unidentified employee confirmed that an agreement could not be reached with the company so the workers launched a strike on September 1. The company laid off three supervisors the same day and recorded absences for all those who protested. This only aggravated the situation.

The employee said, “On the morning of September 2, we were still on strike. We blocked the gate to the factory. The company called dozens of armed police. They started beating us up as soon as they got out of the cars, and two female workers were injured and admitted to the hospital. The company refused to pay for their medical bills.”

Some of the striking workers at the Phillips factory. (The Epoch Times)
Some of the striking workers at the Phillips factory. (The Epoch Times)

Another unidentified employee complained that commodity prices were going up, while their wages were only being deflated, adding, “We just want the company to be fair. We need to get paid for how much work we do.”

The employee continued, explaining that the company treated them badly: “Sometimes we talk loudly at work and once our supervisor would order us to go home and not to come back for three days. A month after that [incident], we were no longer allowed to get paid for overtime.”

A manager at Respironics disclosed that the company has over 1,000 employees, with more women than men. Most of the employees are in their 20s.

After the strike, The Epoch Times called the Respironics manager’s office. A woman answered the phone and said that the conflict had been resolved, and the company was running fine.

Read the original Chinese article