Huizhou factories shut - workers homeless

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2006, 12:00am

More than 600 workers from three electrical factories operated by a Hong Kong-registered company have been left homeless and owed money after the owner closed the business without warning.

Workers from Longshen Electrics in Huizhou yesterday received two months' wages totalling 1 million yuan from the Huizhou government after staging a protest outside the government office for two days.

But the workers said they had been evicted from their dormitory by village authorities and had nowhere to stay. They also said the company still owed them 500,000 yuan in compensation, and vowed not to leave Guangdong until they were paid in full.

Owner Yang Dongshen, a Fujian-born Hong Kong resident, abandoned the business without explanation and disappeared.

The Huizhou government has seized his properties and sold them to pay the workers. An official from the village committee said 1 million yuan had been paid on Mr Yang's behalf to his debtors.

The workers said they were shocked by the sudden closure of the factories because they had been doing a roaring trade.

'We had received many orders and had to work until 11pm to finish the work on time,' said Zhang Shuqing, a quality controller for the company. She said her factory manager had given staff lai see packets for the Lunar New Year.

But the factories were closed without warning on Monday, when the owner was last seen.

Many workers said they were shocked and angered by what they said was irresponsible behaviour. 'I came back to Guangdong immediately after the Lunar New Year,' one worker said. 'I turned down an opportunity to join another business. Now I don't know how to explain to my wife.'

The workers' salaries ranged from 590 to 1,500 yuan. Some workers said the boss left because he owed huge debts to suppliers.