A day before Guangzhou hospital security guards were convicted for disturbing social order by protesting low wages, workers at a Galanz factory in Zhongshan rioted due to unfair wages.
Yesterday, a Weibo post (now deleted) reported a riot had broken out in the dormitories at the Galanz factory during the early morning of April 14. 2,000 workers were said to be protesting against a low wage standard that was below than that promised during recruitment, 21st Century Business Herald reported.
However, the management at Galanz gave a different version of the incident. They confirmed that a protest had indeed occurred at the factory by the workers. However, instigated by workers who had been drinking, only approximately 200 workers got involved in the unrest while those not involved presumably had a difficult time trying to fall asleep.
At present, the unrest is over and an investigation is pending after police were called in.
As for what could happen if protests are taken too far: Several hospital security guards involved in a high-profile labor protest in Guangzhou last year were convicted today, Reuters reports.
After negotiations between the Guangzhou Chinese Medicine University Hospital and other workers would leave them with nothing, the convicted security guards climbed to the roof and threatened to jump before detained by police on August 19 of last year.
All 12 accused were found guilty of “disturbing social order”, but received comparably light punishments with the longest sentence being nine months. A lawyer for one of the convicted guards, Duan Yi, explained that China’s leaders are still liable to crack down on labor activists:
“They are sending a signal to society at large which is that as workers protect their rights, if they are even slightly extreme they could receive criminal punishment.”
As a family member pointed out, none of the convicted had put any other people in danger, and yet they have been incarcerated up until the trial today.
It would seem that a dialog between both labor and management is the way by which a compromise can be achieved, and yet such an outcome is not assured when management like Galanz occupies an infallible position. They had explained their stance on the rioting workers’ demands by saying:
The company will do its best to fulfill all the rational requests of its employees.
If it ain’t rational, it ain’t being fulfilled.