Four hundred workers from a state-run copper company blocked the main road of Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, for two days running in protest at unpaid salaries. Xinhua said yesterday that workers holding banners - featuring messages such as 'We want to eat, we want to survive' - had occupied the Bingzhou Road in central Taiyuan for 11 hours on Wednesday. Traffic only got moving at 7pm after the city Government agreed to talk to workers the next morning. However, some angry employees again took to the streets on Thursday morning but dispersed about two hours later. A government spokesman said there had been no confrontation or arrests. Xinhua, which seldom carries reports touching on the sensitive topic of social unrest in China, said workers told Vice-Mayor Ji Heping in a meeting that Taiyuan Copper Company - a factory run by the city Government - owed them months of back pay. They also claimed management was swindling public funds and said there were gangsters in the factory. Worker Ma Dacheng was quoted as telling Mr Ji that he had not been paid for five years after he complained to the authorities about the mismanagement of the company. He demanded the removal of the company manger, Zhang Jidong, during a speech, which was disrupted several times by the applause of his colleagues. A Taiyuan government spokesman said workers had not been paid for three to four months. 'Most of them targeted the manager. They were angry that they were not paid, even though the company was not making substantial losses.' He said the factory used to do quite well but had been hit by the plunging price of copper. One worker said most had not been paid for 16 months. 'Production stopped a long time ago,' he said, adding that a government team was investigating the factory.