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16 Sep 2021

Ji Siqi and Xinlu Liang, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

China: Samsung workers protest closure of Ningbo shipyard and demand better severance pay

Ships anchored in Wushi Harbor, a fishing port located in Toucheng Township, Yilan County, Taiwan.

"Chinese workers at Samsung’s Ningbo shipyard rally for more coronavirus severance pay", 16 September 2021

South Korean shipbuilding giant Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) announced the closure of its plant Ningbo in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang last week after allegedly agreeing to hand over its land to the local government for industrial renewal, sparking days of protests by laid-off workers seeking better severance pay. [...]

In the past week, thousands of workers have protested the plant‘s closure, demanding a better resettlement plan and higher compensation from the local government and company. It is not known how many staff the plant employed, but SHI has nearly 10,000 employees globally.

According to documents provided by workers, SHI issued a letter to employees last Friday saying the factory would be closed due to dwindling business since the pandemic began, and all employees would be terminated.

Workers would be given a month’s salary for every full year of employment, plus an additional one month of salary and a re-employment aid equal to two months of salaries, the company letter said.

Posts by workers on Chinese social media showed many were dissatisfied with the plan, as most had occupational ailments such as hearing impairments due to years of hard work in the plant. [...]

According to Korean news wire Yonhap News Agency, however, SHI sent an email statement saying the plant was closed due to “decreased productivity caused by its superannuated facilities.”

The statement also said the company had been in talks with the Chinese government to hand over the land and other assets of the Ningbo shipyard by early next year, and would now focus on the operation of its other Chinese shipbuilding plant in Rongcheng, Shandong Province. [...]