American boss held by workers at medical supply factory in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 5:24pm


An American executive held in his Beijing medical supply plant by angry workers said yesterday he was waiting for his lawyers to resolve a compensation dispute.

Chip Starnes was enduring a fifth day of captivity in the capital's northeastern suburbs. About 100 workers are demanding severance packages identical to those offered 30 workers being laid off from the company's plastics division.

The demands followed rumours the entire plant was being closed, despite Starnes' assertion that the firm does not plan to fire the others. "There's been no solution in terms of anything between us and them," he said from his office.

Union official Chu Lixiang said the workers were demanding the portion of their salaries yet to be paid and a "reasonable" level of compensation before leaving their jobs. Neither gave details on the amounts.

Chu said Starnes had not paid the workers for two months. She said they feared the plant was closing and that he would run away without paying severance.

Starnes said workers were blocking every exit and depriving him of sleep by shining lights and banging on windows of his office.