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8,000 Chinese LG employees walk out over bonus dispute

Chinese workers at an LG television factory west of Shanghai say their Korean colleagues earn bonuses equal to a year’s salary


December 29, 2011
by The Canadian Press

BEIJING—Some 8,000 employees of a factory in China owned by a unit of South Korea’s LG Corp. walked off the job earlier this week over complaints about pay discrimination.

New York-based labour group, China Labor Watch, says the Chinese employees of the LG Display factory in Nanjing, west of Shanghai, walked off the job Monday over complaints Korean employees at the factory received annual bonuses equal to one year’s salary.

The group says bonuses for Chinese workers were equal to one month’s pay.

China has faced a wave of protests over the past two years demanding higher pay and other benefits as rising living costs squeeze workers.

Tensions have flared as falling demand in the U.S. and Europe and Chinese government curbs on bank lending have prompted layoffs and pressure on remaining employees to work harder.

Leaders of the communist nation have often discouraged independent labour activity but have recently allowed many protests, especially at foreign companies, in an effort to prod employers to raise wages to boost consumer spending and reduce its dependence on exports.

LG employees in Nanjing met with managers, rejecting an offer to increase annual bonuses for Chinese employees to the equivalent of two months’ pay, according to China Labor Watch said.

Labour unrest also has been reported in the southern province of Guangdong, an export-oriented manufacturing centre and Shanghai, China’s financial capital.