Steelworkers confront police in central China

BEIJING - Armed police were deployed to control steelworkers in a central Chinese city angry over the privatization of their plant, local media reported on Saturday.

By (DPA)

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Published: Sat 15 Aug 2009, 3:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:45 AM

The workers had been protesting outside the gates of Linzhou Steel Corp in Henan province’s Linzhou city since Wednesday, according to the state-run China Daily, outraged that the plant was sold July 24 to a private firm without their consent.

Police had attempted to break through a human barricade set up by protestors “several times,” according to the newspaper.

Workers had reportedly detained an official of the local state-owned assets supervision administration.

The sale of the plant resulted in massive layoffs, and workers were demanding higher compensation and the resolution of issues concerning benefits and unpaid wages during the plant’s restructuring, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the China Daily, laid-off workers were told they would get 1,090 yuan (159 dollars) for each year of service they had put in.

The Chinese government is currently trying to streamline its steel industry, the world’s largest, by encouraging a series of mergers. The resulting layoffs and other labour rights issues have also sparked unrest in other parts of the country.

In late July, 30,000 steelworkers in Jilin province rioted and killed a steel company manager over a proposed takeover.

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