After eight years of petitions and lawsuits, an appeal court will finally hear the case of Wu Guangjun, one of 34 employees laid-off from Unit 804, a state-owned cotton and hemp warehouse in Beining, near
Wu, a former security guard at Unit 804, claims he and is fellow employees were illegally laid-off and consequently have been unable to claim unemployment benefit or even the official minimum subsistence allowance. He further claims he was laid-off because he accused warehouse leaders of embezzling state funds.
The appeal hearing at the Jinzhou Intermediate People’s Court, which opens on Friday 8 May, comes after Wu’s initial lawsuit against Unit 804 was rejected by the Beizhen People’s Court on 22 December 2008, on the grounds that “the plaintiff's case submission has exceeded the prosecuting time-frame.”
Earlier, with the help of China Labour Bulletin, Wu had tried to sue Unit 804’s commercial arm, Liaoning Cotton and Hemp Co., at the Huanggu District Court of Shenyang. The court initially accepted the case but after “communicating” with the company in early 2008 ruled the case inadmissible, without ever explaining why.
This complex case relates to the restructuring of the state-owned warehouse in 2001 and is profiled in detail in CLB’s research report No Way Out: Worker Activism in China’s State-Owned Enterprise Reforms.