Yue Yuen, grappling with factory strike, to change employee benefits

HONG KONG, April 17 Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:25pm EDT

HONG KONG, April 17 (Reuters) - Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd, which makes sports shoes for Nike and Adidas, said it will change employee benefit payments for workers at a Guangdong factory after the employees went on strike.

The move, which is also in line with local government policies, may have a material adverse effect on its financial performance, the company said in a filing.

Thousands of Yue Yuen workers have been on strike for nearly two weeks, in one of the largest strikes in China amid signs of increased labour activism as the economy slows. The factory employs some 60,000 workers.

Yue Yuen said it had decided to adjust social insurance and housing subsidies that will take effect from May 1. The workers at the factory have demanded improved social insurance payments, a pay rise and more equitable contracts.

Yue Yuen Chairman Lu Chin Chu added that the company will continue to review its employee benefits policy. It gave no further details.

The number of strikes in China so far this year is up by close to a third - the biggest surge in protests since the global financial crisis, according to one labour group - as businesses cut costs and foreign companies restructure or close operations in response to slowing growth in the world's second-biggest economy. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)