Nearly 40 sanitation workers in Dongguan were ambushed and badly beaten by a pipe-wielding mob following a contract dispute with a local landscaping company, Nandu reported on August 26.
The Dongguan Meishengda Municipal Engineering Co Ltd. were awarded a contract with the local Wancheng government to oversee the district’s landscaping and sanitation work. However, the sanitation workers defiantly refused to sign the contract claiming it was nothing more than a sheet of blank paper. According to Lin Junguo, a 59 year-old sanitation worker who has been sweeping Dongguan streets for nearly 20 years, the contract made no mention of the name of the employer, the salary, the length of the contract, or annual leave.
Of the 700 workers presented with the agreement, approximately 200 refused to sign. Those who objected were dismissed and replaced with new workers.
The violence erupted around 6:30am on August 25 when 40 workers gathered at Dongmen Square with the intention of taking their case to the local petition bureau. According to witnesses, four vans suddenly arrived carrying 20 or so tattooed young men with meter-long steel pipes. The men then attacked anyone wearing a sanitation uniform. The assault lasted approximately three minutes.
The company denied any involvement in the incident, and dismissed the accusation that they had hired triad members to attack the workers. According to the company, three workers who had been hired to replace those who refused to sign the new contract were responsible. Earlier that day, they had been assaulted by several of the dismissed workers. But when the newspaper interviewed the three injured workers, they denied any involvement: “(They were) not sent by us. If you have any questions, you should ask our boss,” one of the three injured workers said.
According to the SCMP, among construction companies, hiring triad members to “keep workers in line” is not an uncommon practice.
More than 10 sanitation workers were injured with two needing further surgery. Two passer-bys were also injured during the beating. The police have arrested seven suspects.
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