Workers fight for social security as government cracks down on malpractice
In early September, hundreds of workers from the Stellar (星美) cinema chain in Jiangsu, Liaoning and Hebei held a series of protests over unpaid wages and social insurance contributions. Local media reported that the workers had not been paid since Stellar reduced opening hours and closed down some of its more than 300 cinemas in April.
The company has so far refused to pay its employees, even though it reportedly made a profit of 300 million yuan in the last six months and revenue increased by eight percent. “Part of that profit is our hard-earned money,” one worker told the local media.
Even though a court issued a ruling ordering the company to pay the workers’ social insurance contributions and salaries, most of the workers are still struggling to get paid because the company has reportedly forced its subsidiaries to transfer their income to its headquarters every day leaving them no money to pay the workers.
Dozens of workers at a machine tool factory in Tengzhou, Shandong, went on strike on 21 September, to protest unpaid social insurance contributions. Workers claimed that the boss had not been paying his share and that employee contributions were being embezzled by the company.
All of the striking workers had been employed at the factory for at least ten years. Some of them only realized that their pension had not been paid after they reached retirement age. Many employees had only received pension contributions for a few years, while some had empty accounts. The workers estimated that each of them was owed at least 120,000 yuan.
The workers, who had already gone through the arbitration process, said that the company was using its financial situation as an excuse to shun its responsibility. Their case is now before the courts and workers are continuing with their strike action, preventing the company from handling any more orders.