Workers and students in South China are in detention and abduction for their demand that workers are allowed to form their own trade union.
Starting in mid-July, workers from the Shenzhen Jasic Technology Co. Ltd., an industrial welding equipment factory located in South China, have been protesting and organising. Amidst poor working conditions, long working hours and wage reduction in the factory, the workers refused to accept the state-sanctioned trade union, which represents the interest of factory owners. Their demand to form an independent union was met with coercion and violence from the factory owner, the local police and the local trade union. As of the end of July, 30 people who participated in the protest had been arrested according to Amnesty International and The Guardian.
In early August, about 50 students protested outside a police station where workers and their supporters had been detained, reports the China Labour Bulletin, a labour rights group in Hong Kong. Moreover, two worker representatives and a student who had been advocating for the Jasic case had disappeared. On 24 August, then, a group of more than 50 student activists who had participated in the protest were arrested in an early morning police raid on their rented accommodation in the city. State violence is still ongoing, although it is difficult to ascertain at this stage the exact number of workers and students detained and abducted and the nature of police brutality imposed on them because of China’s strict media censorship.
We recognise the legitimacy of the workers’ demand to form their own union in line with the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation and condemn the violence against legitimate labour organising.
We demand the immediate release of all those arrested and abducted, a truly independent union in line with the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation, and no penalty for workers and students who participated in the protest.
Claim the right to form unions that truly represent workers’ rights!
Signed by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) at Nottingham University / UK.
31 August 2018
See below some background information:
Jasic Workers Imprisoned in China (a 6-minute documentary from the Labournet TV)
50 student activists missing in China after police raid (The Guardian)
Police raid student group as support for Shenzhen Jasic workers grows (China Labour Bulletin)
Defending workers’ rights at Shenzhen Jasic (BBC News, in Chinese)