At the demonstration, the mayor was trying to leave in his car, but was blocked by the protesting workers. The chauffeur drove on anyway, knocking down one of the protestors and dragging him along for dozens of meters. This enraged the protesting workers, and the mayor's car was toppled in the scuffle.
China Labour Bulletin confirmed the protest with an official at the propaganda department of Yushu city government, but he refused to give further details.
CLB finally got through to the neighbourhood office in the area where the Yushu Diesel Engine Factory is located. The protest area was reportedly cordoned off - people were allowed to leave but not get in. The official at the propaganda department went on to explain why the workers were up in action.
Workers at Yushu Diesel Engine Factory had been receiving a monthly living allowance of only Rmb 80 (US$10), and the city government was also cash-strapped, the official said. The workers were worried that after taking back the factory from Changchun City Tractor Factory [the provincial capital of Jilin Province - Ed.], they would get even less. The workers then co-signed a petition requesting Yushu city government to shelve the takeover.
According to a woman worker at Yushu City Diesel Engine Factory, some 1,370 signatures were collected on the day of the protest, and most of these people joined the demonstration.
Currently, the factory is not operating normally. There are 2,100 workers on the company book, but only 120 of them go to work. They receive monthly living allowances ranging from Rmb80 to Rmb170 depending on their 'employment' status - Rmb170 for those still on active duty, Rmb 130 for senior workers 'taking rests', and Rmb80 for those 'taking long leave' [different types of lay-off - Ed.], the woman worker explained.
She said, "Workers at the Diesel Engine Factory are in dire straits. Resentment is deep over here."
China Labour Bulletin