China's Yue Yuen shoe factory workers in large strike

A labourer works in a shoe factory in Jinjiang, south China's Fujian province, 17 September 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many shoes worn around the world are made in factories in China

Thousands of workers at a major shoe factory in China, which supplies brands including Nike and Adidas, are striking over social security payments.

Workers at the Yue Yuen factory, in the southern industrial hub Dongguan, are demanding better social insurance and housing fund contributions.

The dispute has been ongoing since early April, with workers reportedly rejecting an offer from the company.

China has faced growing labour strikes in recent years.

The Yue Yuen workers are said to be angered at unpaid social security payments.

'Tricking us'

Worker Cui Tiangang told the Associated Press news agency that the company had not paid sufficient workplace insurance coverage - something he learned after he had injured himself at work.

"The factory has been tricking us for 10 years," another worker said.

"The [local] government, labour bureau, social security bureau and the company were all tricking us together."

However, a Yue Yuen spokesman told Reuters that a revised "social benefit plan" had been announced, following "thorough internal analysis and calculation and considering all the factors including the affordability from the factory perspective".

Photos posted on social media appeared to show protesters gathered on the streets with banners accusing Yue Yuen of breaking the law, with police stationed in the area.

China Labor Watch, a US-based non-governmental organisation, said the strike was "likely one of the largest Chinese worker strikes in recent history".

"Among the more than 400 factory investigations that China Labor Watch has conducted over the past decade, not one factory bought for its workers all of the social insurance items required by Chinese law," it said in a statement.

Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Limited describes itself as the world's largest branded footwear maker. It employs more than 40,000 workers in Dongguan.

Factory conditions in China have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with more workers striking or rioting over low pay and poor conditions.

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