Number of Labor Strikes at Chinese Factories Increases 38 Percent in December, Wage Arrears Continue to be Primary Grievance
Labor strikes in Chinese factories increased 38 percent between November and December 2015, with wage arrears continuing to be the primary grievance driving workers to strike. Workers petitioned for the payment of wages in arrears in approximately 74 percent of strikes, highlighting the continuing difficulty Chinese employers are having as the economy struggles. Strikes involving more than 1,000 workers occurred at two shoe factories in Sichuan province and a shoe factory in Fujian province, as well as at an electronics factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong.
Though the overall number of strikes in China increased in December, strikes in Guangdong declined 20 percent. This is consistent with a trend BSI has noted over the past several years in Guangdong, where strikes decrease ahead of the Chinese New Year after peaking in November. Approximately 52 percent of the strikes in Guangdong involved electronics manufacturers, while 23 percent involved apparel factories.
Zhejiang province saw the second-greatest number of strikes in December after Guangdong. Around 57 percent of the strikes in Zhejiang involved apparel factories. The number of strikes in China tends to decline in January as workers and factories throughout the country prepare for the Chinese New Year.