Daqing Oil Workers' Action Rages On with Solidarity Demonstrations

Two weeks since they started holding mass demonstrations from 1 March, 2002, tens of thousands of retrenched workers from the Daqing Oilfield are still staging action amidst a national news blackout of the event. The Workers' Daily has failed to report on this significant news about workers protest and independent union organization.

The protesting workers have reportedly planned to continue their daily siege of the Daqing Petroleum Administration Bureau (DPAB), until their demands are met. They are organizing sit-ins and occupation of the bureau's headquarters' building every day during office hours. A stalemate has resulted from the absence of a response from the company or the government. An official of the DPAB union says they are not doing anything about the dispute because the retrenched workers are no longer workers nor members of the union, and, most importantly, the union has not got clearance from the DPAB party committee to get involved. There are over 100,000 workers still employed in the oilfield and they are reported to be sympathetic towards the struggle waged by their retrenched fellow workers.

CLB has received report that several thousand retrenched workers from the Huabei Oilfield in Hebei Province, in support of the Daqing workers' action, staged demonstrations at the Changzhou city Petroleum Administration Bureau for a couple of days from 4 March.

The Daqing Oilfield workers' action has touched some raw nerves of the top leadership of the party-state. Not only is the oilfield the most prominent symbol of industrial construction in new China, the action is also taking place during the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Concerns have been expressed at these meetings by many delegates and by Jiang Zemin, president of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, about the threat of social instability posed by the rising number of retrenched and unemployed workers in urban China.

(Sources: China Labour Bulletin, China's news agencies)


Online: 2002-03-18

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