Workers say company plans to lay them off without paying agreed compensation Hundreds of workers who face being laid off by an electronics manufacturer in Shenzhen protested outside the factory yesterday after management refused to pay compensation. The workers, employed by home-appliance manufacturer Durable in Baoan district, started protesting on Monday. They clashed with factory security guards yesterday morning after the factory refused to let them leave the complex. The workers forced open the factory gate and blocked the entrance. More than 100 police officers and local militia were called in to keep order. One worker was arrested. The factory, previously owned and operated by a Hong Kong company, was sold to a mainland company in September. Workers say the new owner planned to relocate the factory to Zhuhai and lay off the 3,000 workers in Shenzhen by the end of this year. The workers claim management is refusing to pay the compensation they are owed, and did not pay their social or medical insurance. 'We have signed a contract with the factory. If they want to lay us off, they have to give us one month's salary as compensation. They also should pay for our social insurance and medical insurance. But they didn't,' said one worker. The crowd dispersed in the afternoon. The workers said management had refused to negotiate with them. Workers vowed to continue their protest today. 'They can't run away from their responsibility. I have worked for the factory for many years and if the company wants to get rid of us, it should treat us with respect,' said another worker. The workers also claimed that they were badly paid. Their average salary was slightly lower than the minimum wage in Guangdong - 574 yuan a month. 'We have worked here for years but the salary remained the same. Our salary is only enough for basic living. We have nothing left to send back to our family,' said a female worker. She said many of her friends had left Shenzhen because working conditions in the city were too harsh. A staff member at Durable's office yesterday denied there was a protest outside the factory. 'Some workers just want to sit outside and cool their heels together. There is no protest,' she said. She said the company had treated its workers well and it was not clear whether it would relocate to Zhuhai. 'If anyone says we did not treat our workers well, let them show proof,' she said. Labour disputes have become increasingly common in Shenzhen, with workers often complaining about being underpaid and ill-treated.