[Marxism] Wintex workers striked in Dongguan, China

Torrent torrent.org at gmail.com
Mon Apr 27 06:23:27 MDT 2009

Actuality, I was outside of the striked factory for one week after the
strike and interviewed the striked workers.

This is the english story which thanslated and reedited by my Chinese


Ex-WINTEK Workers Joined in Protest of Poor Working Condition
To sign the petition online, go to:

If you are holding an iPhone or an HTC in your hand, you might have
contributed to the ordeals of nearly 8,000 factory workers in China and
Taiwan, to speak of the least.

One of Apple's major suppliers, WINTEK, is recently facing a fight back from
angry workers, among who are the 700-strong on Taiwan's manufacture lines
that have been laid off early this year, who were rather surprised when they
found out WINTEK began to recruit new workers immediately, while these
veterans are left jobless. Meanwhile, "Masstop" (東莞萬士達公司) in Donguan, a
subsidiary of WINTEK, saw more than 7,000 broke in outrage when the workers
went on strike last Friday (17 April 2009), in protest of unlawful cuts on
overtime wages and basic benefits.

WINTEK Corporation was established in Taiwan during the 1990s. Its major
products include flat monitors such as LCDs, LCMs and touch panels,
occupying the largest market share of touch panels and small-sized mobile
phone panels, ranking among the top 3 suppliers worldwide. WINTEK allocates
12 of its manufacture lines in Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan,
employing as many as 3,550 workers; for its two factories in Dongguan and
Suzhou, China, 18,150 workers are employed, while its Chennai factory has
1,450 workers. It spreads its worldwide sales networks across the US, Korea
and Germany. WINTEK's major clients include Apple (iPhone), Nokia and HTC.

More than 700 Taiwan factory workers laid off

Since November 2008, WINTEK had begun to cut salaries and stopped paying
benefits, and resorted to forcing unpaid leaves on employees. On December
17, and the day after, more than 700 employees were laid off unexpectedly
(the number can rise to near 1,000 if contract and migrant workers are to be
included). WINTEK did not file a report to the Administration of Labour
Affairs or embark on a negotiation process with its employees 60 days
beforehand, as was written in the labour laws.

It was said the company targeted pregnant women and veteran workers, for
they would have cost the company much more than just hiring inexperienced
workers; this could be viewed as an ostensibly discriminative action. After
protest, the would-be mothers went back to work, but the others are still
fighting their jobs back.

The company claimed that this measure was necessary because the number of
orders has dropped sharply and that it was experiencing a bad loss.
However, according to its financial statement, WINTEK still has a surplus of
four billion TWD (approx. $118 million USD). Taiwanese press also reported
that WINTEK had received rush orders, thus needed to hire a large number of
new workers.  (related press coverage:

For those who appeared lucky to keep their jobs, their pay was cut, (no
awards and no subsidies for early shifts) their overtime unpaid, and the
night shifts were asked to work longer hours. The workers had to work
nonstop in order to make enough to survive. Moreover, the company has filed
a lawsuit of defamation against Wei-li Chu (朱維立), chairperson of National
Federation of Independent Trade Unions (自主工聯), who has been assisting the
unemployed workers for this case.

7,000 workers went on strike, 19 sacked

On April 17, Masstop (東莞萬士達公司) in Donguan, a subsidiary of WINTEK, saw more
than 7,000 angry workers went on strike, an action of desolation triggered
by third-rate food, as well as missing overtime pay and subsidies.

In February, Masstop demanded the workers to sign an agreement for an
overtime wages of only 1.5 times of their normal wages, and told the
workforce that this agreement was approved by the labour administration,
which later proved to be a lie.  By Chinese labour laws, however; those who
work overtime should be paid twice of their normal wages; which means if
they get less than that, the company is breaching the laws.

Though later in the day of the strike, the company offered to pay twice the
normal wages for overtime, but they did not plan to solve the issues with
food and subsidies, 19 of the workers continued the strike and were
eventually laid off.

Organisation of workers anywhere is no easy task, let along in an
environment as silencing and sensitive as China, where labour unions are
scarce, and organisation work is often oppressed.

Global support and recognition from outside the country is urgently needed,
for the workers in Masstop, Dongguan to have a chance of winning, or simply
getting even, in this battle.

WINTEK's violation of Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct
To illustrate how international brands such as Apple, Nokia and HTC are
responsible for improving the working conditions of WINTEK workers, the
protesters have referred to the Code of Conduct outlined by Apple (
http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/) and listed the misconducts of

1. WINTEK has violated the code concerning overtime wages: "workers must be
compensated for overtime hours at the premium rate required by applicable
laws and regulations."

Underpaid overtime wages:WINTEK forced its Taiwanese employees to give up
their overtime pay and holiday subsidies, opting for more days off instead.

Dongguan Masstop, WINTEK's subsidiary in Dongguan, claimed on February 26th
that the labour administration on Dongguan has approved that its 25% cut in
holiday overtime wages. In fact, the administration has never approved such

2. WINTEK has violated the code concerning fair treatment to employees
according to applicable laws and regulations.

Illegally laying off workers:Dongguan Masstop, WINTEK's subsidiary in
Dongguan faced strike because of working condition issues. Though the
company agreed to adhere to labour laws and pay overtime wages twice as much
as the normal ones, the company made a conditional offer, stating that all
workers should be back at work before three in the afternoon. 19 of the
workers were laid off because they continued the strike. The fact is, the
company agreed to pay the overtime wages only a few days later. According to
Chinese labour laws, workers have the rights not to work before they get
paid. The company breached the laws by laying them off.

3. WINTEK has violated the code concerning dormitory and dining: "Suppliers
must provide workers with clean toilet facilities, access to potable water,
and sanitary food."

Food problems: Dongguan Masstop, WINTEK's subsidiary in Dongguan, has cut
the expenses for daily meals from 8 RMB to 4.5 RMB. Some say the food is a
far cry from satisfactory. This issue directly resulted to the strike, but
the company has not solved it yet.

To sign the petition online, go to:

MSN:torrent at gcn.net.tw

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