Hundreds of textile workers took to the streets yesterday in a peaceful protest to demand back pay and unemployment benefits.

The workers are from the state-owned Jiamusi Fengda Textile Factory at Jiamusi in the north east province of Heilongjiang. The plant, which employs more than 6,000 workers has already laid-off 1000 people and is on the brink of bankruptcy.

A director at New York-based China Labor Watch told Associated Press that laid-off workers are paid a monthly allowance of 120 yuan (US$14.50), which is rarely paid on time.

The protests have been going on since last year. Last week, workers staged another demonstration before they were dispersed by hundreds of police, China Labor Watch said.