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Workers at Samsung supplier in China win pay hike after strike

More than a thousand workers at the Dongguan-based Shanmukang Technology managed to not only win a better overtime rate on weekdays and weekends, but also double their monthly pay, after a simultaneous strike staged by workers from different depts.
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Written by Liu Jiayi on

More than a thousand workers at the Dongguan-based Shanmukang Technology managed to not only win a better overtime rate on weekdays and weekends, but also double their monthly pay, after a simultaneous strike staged by workers at different departments on March 27, 2014.

The long-brewing discontent reached its boiling point last week when the company, which manufactures and assembles mobile phone cases for Samsung, announced that it would deduct more social insurance premium contributions from workers' salaries.

Production  workers, who have to perform a repetitive task of assembling a phone case in four seconds for more than ten hours, first went on strike last Thursday evening. they were later joined by other workers from the departments of finance, human resources, procurement, and administration, according to a worker's personal website.

"It is the third strike that I have experienced at this company," said a workers nicknamed Tong Er. According to Tong, the management agreed to raised the overtime rate on weekdays from 11.59 yuan to 15.98 yuan, up 38 percent, and the rate on weekends from 15.98 yuan to 19.98 yuan, up 25 percent. Workers' monthly subsidies would also double to 600 yuan.

Although the workers won the wildcat strike and are now back to work, the labor conditions at Shanmukang could still be a long way from a healthy one. In a report released by China Labor Watch in December 2013, the company was accused of 23 counts of labour rights and environment protection violations, and in the absence of any workers' representatives or a trade union, no one knows how long last week’s victory would last.

On the biggest local recruitment website, Shanmukang proclaims that it has always been operating in accordance with laws and vigorously fulfills corporate social responsibility. However at the same time, it said that its 4,500 employees have to work for six days a week, a clear violation of the five-workdays policy in China that was established in the 1990s.

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