Chinese distiller Yanghe Brewery agrees to raise factory workers’ pay after protest

  • Shenzhen-listed firm says agreement reached to increase wages of packaging staff so they can ‘share in the company’s business success’
  • Video footage shows hundreds of employees – most of them women – knocking down gate to enter office building and confront management
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 6:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 10:44am

A leading distiller says it will raise the wages of packaging workers at its factory in eastern China after hundreds of staff protested over pay and conditions and barged into the company’s management office over the weekend.

In a statement on Sunday evening, Shenzhen-listed Yanghe Brewery said that after negotiating with the workers an agreement had been reached to increase their pay so they could “share in the company’s business success”.

“These differences [between management and the workers] over pay have now been worked out, and our manufacturing and sales have not been affected [by the protest],” Yanghe Brewery said in the statement posted on Weibo.

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It said staff from the company’s packaging unit had staged a protest at the factory in Suqian, Jiangsu province on Saturday and they then went to the office building to confront management about their pay.

No further details were provided, and the government imposed a state media blackout on the protest.

But video footage posted by Washington-based Radio Free Asia showed hundreds of workers – most of them women – dressed in white uniforms, marching towards an office building.

The clip shows the workers knocking down a gate and entering the building, despite security guards trying to stop them.

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A witness surnamed Liao told Radio Free Asia that the workers said they had decided to take action when the factory doubled their workload but kept them on the same pay.

“[Before] they had to pack 4,000 boxes a day on their shift – now that’s been increased to 8,000. It has reached the limit for these workers,” he said.

“Their wages have not gone up and they have also lost holiday entitlements,” according to Liao.

Founded in 1949, Yanghe Brewery is a leading producer of the Chinese spirit baijiu and also makes red wine.

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