Strike at IBM Factory in Shenzden

Published on Author destefano

At least 1,000 workers at the IBM factory in Shenzden went on strike last week after it became apparent that IBM is planning on selling their factory to Chinese PC maker Lenovo. Over the past eight days, workers have paraded through the factory grounds yelling “IBM is a sweatshop, IBM give me respect, IBM give my youth back!” Workers are seeking compensation from IBM for selling the factory. This is common in the United States and other western countries, where workers often ask to receive some sort of compensation when a company sales the rights of a factory to another company. The workers of IBM Shenzden factory are asking for IBM to pay their average monthly salary multiplied by double their number of years of service, plus one month’s salary.

This strike is just one in a growing trend of strikes and protests. The China Labor Bulletin stated that there has been at least 1,171 strikes and protests from June 2011 to December 2013. There are two many factors that are fueling this trend; labor shortages and social media. Labor shortages have caused wages and benefits to increase as employers try to retain their workers. Workers are starting to understand the power that they have over their employers, coupled with the ability to communication over social media and online chat groups they are better organized. This continued strikes mark a turning point for the Chinese economy, which until now has thrived off of cheap labor, due to labor surplus. If employers are forced to continue increasing wages and benefits for workers, it will make it more expensive to manufacture products and companies may look to move their factories to other countries to increase profit.

4 Responses to Strike at IBM Factory in Shenzden

  1. Although strikes aren’t necessarily always a good thing, and often end poorly, I believe that these strikes are representative of a positive trend in China. Social media was mentioned and I believe the increase in smart phones, and media coverage from all aspects of China are only going to bring the truth to the light. Poor working conditions, corruption, and injustice in general will be brought to the light. Hopefully when these things are shown justice will be delivered.

  2. As Professor Dodge mentioned today, the working conditions are improving. I thought strikes were not allowed in China but it is permitted now. This is a good sign that the conditions are going to improve for the workers. The workers should also be educated that they have the rights to strike and fight for their work. This will eventually lead to a better and hopeful future for both of the workers and the Chinese economy.

  3. I agree, this seems like positive progress in terms of improved conditions for workers in China. However, it just seems surprising that there could ever be a labor shortage in such an enormous and heavily populated nation. I expect it is just a matter of time until labor supply catches back up with demand.

  4. There are 10s of thousands of strikes and protests in China each year. Most are small and few end well for everyone. Lots of variation, though: I have read of cases (typically villagers protesting land grabs) where a couple of the leaders get punished, but the villagers themselves do get better compensation. Now if it’s an international firm, leverage is greater. It will be interesting to know the denouement.