Workers at a factory in China have been striking for nearly two weeks

Workers at a factory in China have been striking for nearly two weeks

Workers striking at the Yue Yuen shoe factory in China have rejected management's latest offer, pushing what has become the country's largest worker strike in recent history into its second week.

Thousands of workers began the strike at the Taiwanese-owned factory, which supplies Adidas and Nike, last week. It is the second time this month that employees have protested over unpaid social insurance and housing funds and improper labour contracts.

However, unions and workers at the Yue Yuen Industrial factory in southern China, which employs around 40,000 staff, appear to be no closer to reaching an agreement after they turned down management's response to their demands yesterday (23 April).

As a result, the majority of workers continued their work stoppage at the Dongguan facility, one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the world.

According to China Labor Watch (CLW), Adidas has begun moving equipment out of the production facility to be sent to another factory in Fujian Province. It is urging the sporting giant to "rethink its choice" to pull out of Yue Yuen factory and "support a fair resolution between Yue Yuen and its workers".

Adidas, however, said it was not pulling out of the factory and has no plans to do so. A Nike spokesperson said it was continuing to monitor the dialogue.

The workers at the Dongguan plant were initially demanding backpay for unpaid social insurance, but over the course of the last week workers have expanded their demands to include a 30% pay rise, a one-time payment based on seniority, or, in the case the factory does not meet other demands, monetary compensation for terminating the labor contract. This, CLW said, was due to management continuing to delay its reply and then delivering "an unsatisfying response" to workers.

On 21 April, the factory posted notices outlining some of the reforms that would be made to workers, including a 'living subsidy' increase of CNY230 per month per worker and social insurance that would be paid for each worker according to the law beginning 1 May.

Workers, however, told CLW that while a small number of co-employees had returned to work this week, the majority, on strike since 14 April, have continued the action.

Last week, Shenzhen's local branch of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), sent a team to the Yeu Yuen factory to help workers select representatives to negotiate with management.

Yesterday, CLW said it published a statement that supports collective negotiation and urges workers to return to work. On the same day, two labor activists, Zhang Zhiru and Lin Dong, who entered the factory were detained by local authorities. It is not known whether they have yet been released.