Chinese shoe manufacturing workers take industrial action

Workers employed by the world’s largest athletic shoe maker at a factory in southern China are taking industrial action against their employer.

Reuters reports that the workers began their protest against Yue Yuen, a company that produces shoes for well-known brands such as Nike and Adidas on Saturday.

A Yue Yuen spokesman told Reuters that the action involved about 600 workers who were demonstrating about social security benefits and different terms for local and migrant workers.

"The misunderstanding has to be clarified by the government, in particular any difference between local and migrant workers when they claim their benefits," the spokesman said.

Adidas said in a statement it was monitoring the situation. In addition , it said Yue Yuen was in talks with local authorities to address the issues raised by protesting workers.

According to Reuters, Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The action is part of increased industrial action in China in recent times. As a worker shortage has emerged, the balance of power has shifted towards employees and they have more readily taken such action.

However, elsewhere in more impoverished parts of Asia, conditions faced by garment workers have come under much scrutiny in recent times. This is mainly due to recent tragedies in the Bangladeshi garment industry.

The worst of these involved the collapse of Rana Plaza, a building which housed garment workers outside Dhaka, in April. The tragedy killed over 1,100 and, as a result, the industry was shut down temporarily and workers were awarded a pay rise of 77 per cent.


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