Shenzhen zoo workers on strike over job cuts and pay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am

About 400 workers at Shenzhen Safari Park have been on strike for two days in protest at unpaid wages, redundancy packages and alleged management corruption.

The park as been closed since Thursday and thousands of visitors, including several Hong Kong tour groups, were surprised and disappointed yesterday when they were stopped outside the park's front gates and prevented from entering.

The strike has forced middle and senior management to take over the feeding of the 10,000 animals.

About 70 police officers raided the park at about 8am yesterday and stopped hundreds of employees from hanging out protest signs. The workers then surrounded the administration building and said they would continue their strike until their demands for better compensation and pay conditions and overdue payments were met.

The police left soon after most of the employees abandoned their sit-in and left the park. But about 30 people insisted on remaining in the park's plaza.

Employee Qiu Zhongli said the strike was aimed at drawing attention to inadequate compensation paid to workers facing redundancy as part of the park's transition from a state-owned enterprise to private management.

'We found on Wednesday night that some senior staff had left the company after getting a huge payout,' Ms Qiu said. 'But the compensation amount for regular staff members was too little to be fair. We've been working for the park for years and deserve more.'

She said the workers were fearful of their future and had lost confidence in the integrity of the administration. Ms Qiu said the staff cared for the animals but the protest was unavoidable.

'We are fighting for money to live. We and the animals are victims,' she said.

The park's deputy general manager, Huang Xianda , said the compensation packages were in line with official standards.

'The compensation plan is based on the relevant state-owned enterprise reform policy issued by the government,' he said.