Not So Sweet - Sugar Workers Demand Wages

11 July 2001
Industrial Strife in Inner Mongolia

On July 6th, 2001 over 1,000 workers from a sugar factory in the Inner Mongolian city of Linhe gathered outside the party offices of the Lake Bayan district to protest against wage arrears. They demanded that the government fulfill its duty to provide workers with livelihood guarantees. Following the incident, the head of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region issued a directive to the police to trace the workers’ leaders. In radio interviews conducted by CLB co-ordinator Han Dongfang, local officials from the Lake Bayan district labour bureau and party committee confirmed the incident had taken place and that such protests were very common as a result of chronic wage arrears.

For example, an incident took place in mid-May when 200 workers from the nearby Dengkou County Chemical Fertiliser Factory blocked the Baotou-Lanzhou railway line for over an hour. An official from the Dengkou county complaints office reported that the government decided, as a temporary measure, to distribute chemical fertiliser for the workers to sell in lieu of wages. They also ordered local police to find out who had organised the demonstration. In a telephone interview, a worker from the factory said he had received five tons of fertiliser in lieu of three months wages. He was pessimistic over the chances of receiving anything for the remaining five months wages owed to him.

(HK: China Labour Bulletin 11/07/01)
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