Saturday, May 9, 2009

May Day 五一劳动节: An injury to one is an injury to all!

Many stories of Chinese workers who have suffered injuries or have died due to their working conditions are untold or unheard. It struck me today as I noticed a family friend’s hand. Her thumb was a mere stub with no fingernail. I wondered why that was and my mum later told me that it’s from an injury at her factory back in China, where the machinery had cut off her thumb. These kinds of injuries are quite common in factories in China, my mum also knows of a woman who had three fingers cut off working in a factory producing shoes. This is just skimming the severity of workplace injuries in factories in China. Worker’s lives are disposable in the capitalist system, and this should be testament to the ‘false consciousness’ created by the Chinese Communist Party who have continually betrayed workers, using socialist euphemisms to disguise their policies giving more power to vicious capitalist corporations in China; using revolutionary rhetoric to entrench capitalist exploitation.

On May Day 2009, a 17-year-old Chinese worker dies in Yiuwah factory, mutilated to death by a paper-crushing machine. His name was Liu Pan. He had been working in this factory for the past two years of his life. Yiuwah factory supplies goods to Disney, Coca Cola and Ma Sha for international distribution. The report made by China Labor Watch revealed:


*Underage and child labor are widespread at the factory, with workers as young as 13 being hired in busy seasons.
*Labor contracts are haphazard, and many workers do not sign.
*Wages are low at only $113/month for base salary, and overtime is required on most Saturdays and holidays.
*Paid vacation is extremely limited and even maternity leave is denied.
*No training is provided to workers and the factory has no handbook explaining occupational hazards.
*Many factory machines are old and outdated, and injuries are not uncommon.
*Dormitory conditions are poor; normally 6-8 but up to 14 workers share a single room in the busy season.

This is going to be an interesting year with the recession happening and all. The resistance against the CCP dictatorship is rising in China with 58,000 "mass incidents" since the beginning of this year.

Meanwhile in Aotearoa, May Day was marked in Auckland with the usual march, this year with a statement of solidarity with refugees and migrant workers. Anarchists, socialists and unionists marched together to commemorate International Worker's Day, a tradition originating from the Haymarket massacre in Chicago demanding an 8-hour working day. The May Day march was followed by a Tamil march against the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka, demanding Sri Lanka to stop the war.

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    There's some pretty decent coverage of Chinese labour stuff on LibCom at http://libcom.org/tags/china (both historical and current).

    Nice blog btw, I've added you to the links on mine :)

    ReplyDelete