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Rare decision: Xiamen labour panel punishes foreign-run company in dispute over workers' strike

Author: Keira Le Huang, South China Morning Post, Published on: 11 June 2014

A labour dispute committee penalised a foreign-run electronics company for firing 34 workers after going on strike - in a rare move that challenges an arbitration system typically seen as favouring employers.  The workers had walked out of the plant in Xiamen, Fujian province, earlier this year to oppose plans to relocate the factory.  Kewei Tongchuang…had accused the 34 employees on strike of violating company regulations...The striking workers…were sacked…due to “violations to company policy”.  The workers challenged their termination before the Xiamen government’s labour arbitration committee.  The panel ruled…that the workers had reasonable cause…[and] ordered the firm to compensate the workers.  The labour committee’s decision was extraordinary as mainland labour dispute arbiters – under pressure from stability-obsessed local governments – typically decide on the basis of discouraging future strikes…The company refused to accept yesterday’s decision and will take the case to court.  Although the right to strike is enshrined in the constitution, “often [a] strike is treated as absenteeism, which violates company regulations”…

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Related companies: Kewei Tongchuang (part of Nelson-Miller)