BEIJING A Hong Kong toy manufacturer has agreed
to improve compensation terms for a batch of laid-off factory
workers who clashed violently with police in south China over
severance payouts, state media reported on Thursday.
Rising labour costs, falling export orders and a weak
Christmas outlook have forced a growing number of Chinese toy
factories to close or lay off workers, heightening the
country's social strain as the global financial crisis worsens.
A crowd of 500 workers overran nearly 1,000 police and
stormed into the "Kaida" toy factory run by top Hong Kong toy
manufacturer Kader Holdings in the latest sign of social strain
in China's industrial heartland of Guangdong province.
The workers overturned police vehicles, smashed windows and
computer monitors in a dispute over compensation for laid-off
workers in the industrial belt of Dongguan where thousands of
factories have closed.
Hong Kong-listed Kader (0180.HK), one of the city's largest
toymakers which counts industry goliaths like Hasbro among its
clients, said in a statement that it regretted the incident but
reaffirmed its financial structure was "sound and stable."
Kader, which employs around 8,000 people at the factory,
laid off 380 workers last week and a further 216 contracts were
due to be terminated on Wednesday, the China Daily said.
Kader said the 400 or so workers had been "compensated
accordingly" under China's Labour Law and rewarded staff who'd
served more than five years with "extra bonuses."
The China Daily however quoted local official Li Zhihui as
saying the company would "offer a new plan about giving
economic compensation and bonuses to the employees whose
contracts were terminated."
The newspaper didn't clarify whether all contracts would be
renewed or just those of "senior" employees.
Last month, about 1,000 workers protested outside another
toy factory in Dongguan, demanding unpaid wages after the
company shut its doors.
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom and James Pomfret in Hong
Kong; Editing by Nick Macfie) Keywords: CHINA TOY/