Strike at IBM factory in Shenzhen enters its third day

More than 1,000 workers at the IBM ISTC factory in Shenzhen have been out on strike since 3 March 2014 in protest at the company’s unilateral lump sum severance package prior to the business being taken over by Chinese technology company Lenovo.

According to a Shenzhen Television report on 4 March, IBM ISTC, one of the strategic manufacturing bases of IBM’s global integrated supply chain, gave workers the stark choice: Either “willingly” leave IBM before 12 March and get a sub-standard compensation package, plus an extra 6,000 yuan, or stay and “automatically” become a Lenovo employee. In this latter scenario, workers would get the same low level of compensation but without the extra 6,000 yuan.

New video released today showed several hundred workers marching around the factory compound chanting slogans accusing IBM of illegally terminating their contracts without proper compensation. In event of illegal termination, employees should get their average monthly salary during the past 12 month times their number of years of service, times two, plus one month’s salary.

Shenzhen Television also reported that workers were angry at their excessive working hours and had demanded occupational health and safety (OHS) check-ups for departing employees and extra compensation for pregnant women workers and nursing mothers.

“Many of us work from 8:00am to 11:00pm for 15 days without a single day off. IBM must provide us with OHS checkups!” workers said.

Workers have handed a letter of grievances to management and are now waiting for a reply while continuing their strike action.

Lenovo announced on 23 January that it would acquire IBM’s industry-standard x86 server business in an agreement valued at US$2.3bn in cash and stock.

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