Protest supporting Sanda Kan strike in Dongguan; Stop suppressing workers’ rights
Today morning, around 11 a.m., Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network and several labour organisations organised a protest at the Kadar Building against the Kadar Group and Sanda Kan Company not responding to striking workers’ demands. Instead, the strike and workers were suppressed by over thousands of policemen. Organisations supported the workers in Sanda Kan Company in Dongguan and opposed the suppression on workers’ rights.
Sanda Kan Industrial Ltd is a company owned by the Hong Kong based Kadar Group. In Sanda Kan, there are over one thousand employees and it produces train models for famous international toy brands, including Tomy and Microace in Japan, Hornby in Germany and Bii in the US. The Chairperson of Kadar Group, Mr Kenneth Ting, is the incumbent member of the Standing Committee of CPPCC of Jiangsu Province, member of the standing committee of Liberal Party, Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS), Justice of the Peace (JP), Permanent Honorary President of Hong Kong Plastics Manufacturers Association.
Starting from late February this year, one thousand workers in Sanda Kan initiated a strike. The strike has lasted for over 50 days. The origin of the strike is that the management without negotiating with workers, decided to move the factory from Wanjiang District to Zhongtang town (over 10 Kilometres away). Workers were dissatisfied with the unilateral decision and urged bilateral negotiations. They also think Sanda Kan should pay economic compensation and wages in lieu of notice.
On the 6th of March, hundreds of workers took to the streets and stopped the company from moving its facilities and urge the company to perform their legal responsibilities. After negotiations, Sanda Kan agreed to pay each worker 1000 CNY. But workers requested higher compensation according to Labour Contract Act and continued their struggle. In late March, the president of Dongguan Federation of Trade Unions Guo Shui claimed that the incident had been settled and Sanda Kan also issued a notice concerning the arrangement of the relocation. Nevertheless, workers’ demands had not been properly met and they went on a march again. Workers said, worker representatives had been threatened by the police in the past, and therefore to protect their representatives, they refused to send them to negotiate.
On 10th of April, Sanda Kan relocated the equipment from the factory. At the same time, over one thousand policemen entered the factory and forced the workers to sign resignation letters. Based on information from the workers, around 10 workers were still detained.
Since the opening of market in China in the 1980s, the rapid economic development of the country has relied on workers’ sweat and blood. They have been exploited for many years and their basic human and labour rights are violated every day. Decades of exploitation has led to workers coming out and fighting for their rights, as the government and trade unions are not providing the support they need. Instead, they collude with the employers and use force and authority to arrest and suppress workers.
Hong Kong groups of organisations concerned about labour rights. They strongly supported the workers’ strike in Sanda Kan, Dongguan, and stand in solidarity with the workers. They opposed the authorities using force to suppress workers. The groups urged the Kadar Group, Sanda Kan Company, Dongguan government and trade unions to protect the labour rights of the workers, in particular, the right of association, right to strike and right of collective bargaining. They should respond to the workers’ demands, release the arrested workers and negotiate with the workers in good faith.
This protest also obtained the support from various Asian trade unions and labour organisations. The name list is as followed:
HKCTU Chief executive MUNG Siutat (9099 6193) and AMRC Programme Coordinator LI Shinghong (6196 1293)
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions HKCTU 香港職工盟 and Asia Transnational Corporations (ATNC) Monitoring Network 亞洲跨國企業監察網絡
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) 亞洲專訊資料研究中心
Labour Action China (LAC) 中國勞動透視
Globalization Monitor (GM) 全球化監察
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) 大學師生監察無良企業行動
Worker Empowerment (WE) 勞動力
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines (CTUHR)
Centre for Workers Education, India (CWE)
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Philippines (EILER)
Federation of Independent Trade Union, Indoesnia (GSBI)
Korea House for International Solidarity (KHIS)
Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan (LEF)
National Garment Worerks Federation, Bangladesh (NGWF)
Policy Research for Development Alternative & Trade Union Education centre, Bangladesh (UBINIG & Sramabikash Kendra )
Sedane Labour Resource Center, Indonesia (LIPS)
Yokohama Action Research, Japan (YAR)
Committee for Asian Women, Thailand (CAW)
Interfaith Cooperation Forum, Hong Kong (ICF)
Textile and Garment Workers' Federation, Bangladesh (TGWF)
Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union (R.C.C.I.G.U.) 零售、商業及成衣業總工會
National Hazard Campaign, UK
Occupational and Environmental Health Network of India (OEHNI)
Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV)
Scottish Hazards Campaign
European Work Hazards Network