Chinese Workers Take Managers Hostage, Go on Strike over Toilet Breaks

Workers have been beaten by 300 armed Chinese police officers arriving at the riot scene

By on January 22nd, 2013 13:58 GMT

Eighteen managers were taken hostage at an electronics manufacturer plant in Shanghai, China, on Friday, January 18.

Workers at Shenming Electric Motor Ltd. have gone on strike over what they dubbed “bully rules,” instituted by the new management at the plant.

The hostages were locked in the building until the following day. When police arrived, they found approximately hundreds of employees rioting.

The managers, 8 Chinese and 10 Japanese citizens, had not been harmed and The Epoch Times details that company president Hideaki Tamura was among those held at the plant.

All the Chinese executives are members of the Communist party and one of them lost consciousness due to hypertension, and was released in paramedic care.

300 police officers were dispatched at the scene, and evacuated the rest of the executive personnel. The incident kept the factory closed until Monday.

Police “hit anyone within their reach with rubber batons,” one of the workers, identifying himself as Mr. Liu, tells reporters.

“The police ordered the female workers to squat on the ground and beat those who refused. All told, five were arrested, one was severely beaten, and another woman’s three ribs were broken. All of the female workers were unarmed. They asked the media to help, but nobody cared.

“The police forced photographers to delete photos of the police beating the workers. The female employees petitioned to the city government yesterday [Jan. 20], but with no result,” Liu describes.

Among employees' grievances were 2-minute bathroom breaks. Small wages of a monthly 1,500 yuan ($241 / €181) also played a role in the riot. They would be fined 50 yuan ($8 / €6) for being late, and fired for failing to respect the regulations imposed by management.

“For instance, a worker will be punished with a fifty yuan ($8 / €6) deduction from his salary if he is late to work for the first time, and fired if he is late again. Employees are allowed only two minutes for going to the bathroom or making a phone call.

“They can be fired if they take more time than that. Mounted cameras will monitor the employees. The company’s wages, 1,500 yuan ($241 / €181) a month, are very low for Shanghai and it is difficult for them to survive on what they make,” a second employee, Mr. Chen, adds.
Shanghai Shenming Electric Motor Ltd. workers are photographed outside the plant
   Shanghai Shenming Electric Motor Ltd. workers are photographed outside the plant
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