Latest development of the artigas workers strike
The following is an update on the Artigas Workers Strike:
- Another detained workers' representative, Ah Ying, has been released (believed to be 3 days ago). The only detainee remained unreleased is Wu Weifa who was arrested on June 9;
- Although most of the workers have signed agreements with the management, they were forced to sign under intimidation (holding the detainees as ransom and intimidated by the police). Thus, many of the workers refuses to comply and prepared to file a lawsuit against the Lever Group;
- The litigation materials from the first group of 72 workers have been submitted to the law firm, these materials will be submitted for court filing in the next few days;
Starting from 20 July, workers gradually signed the agreement, even it was against their own will. The employer-drafted agreement states that workers resign voluntarily and Lever Style Inc. offers them a “relief fund”, calculated by their years of services. Workers would receive 500 yuan per year of services if they work shorter than 10 years in the factory. For over 10 years of services, they would get 800 yuan per year of services. This “relief fund” is far below the compensation required by law, i.e. a month of wages for each year of services. The average monthly wages of Artigas workers were 3,500 yuan, instead of the legal minimum wages 2,080 yuan. Most of the workers are unhappy with this compensation and some workers are considering to file a class action lawsuit.
By 13 August, all workers who were detained in the July clearance were released. However, Wu Weifa (known as Sister Fa), who was first detained on 9 June, was still kept in custody. Her family has received a criminal detention notice, charging her with “obstructing official business”.