Two separate outbreaks of protests by workers demanding unpaid salaries and welfare benefits occurred in southern China during April, according to the US-based group China Labor Watch.
In Dongguan, Guangzhou province, workers sacked from a privately-owned toy plant swarmed into the factory compound to demand pay arrears. Around 10 of them were injured in clashes with security guards. Local officials and police denied that the clash had taken place and said that a dispute over the laying-off of 2,000 staff after a new boss had taken over the factory was being resolved.
The other clash occurred at Guiyang, Guizhou province, where 1,000 former employees of a local state-owned steel works blocked roads to demand payment in full of their pensions. These protests followed disturbances in north and northeast China in March, which involved auto workers in Beijing, oil workers in Daqing and workers in the rustbelt town of Liaoyang, Liaoning province.
Liaoning governor Bo Xilai has pledged to create 700,000 jobs this year, the same number that he had earlier predicted would be laid off. The province has more unemployed than any other, according to Xinhua, with more than 1m out of work.