Annual wave of construction worker protests in full swing, officials fret over solution
More than 20 migrant workers climbed the Wanda mall complex in Nanning, Guangxi, 13 December, threatening to jump from the rooftop if their wages were not paid before the Lunar New Year.
Like most large developers in China, Wanda relies heavily upon layers of subcontracting to build its projects. When workers demanded their wages, the construction company pointed the finger at the project’s subcontractor, who had already disappeared without paying workers.
Workers decided to take collective action to draw attention to their predicament. Not long after taking to the roof of the building, local government officials intervened and promised to settle the wages by the following day.
On 1 December, workers took to the streets in Jining, Shandong province, to protest wages owed to them by construction developer Mingcheng Xinlingyu (New Horizon).
The workers were owed 7 million yuan collectively for the construction of a local government building, amounting to 20,000 yuan per person. Police arrived on the scene and detained several workers; many were injured in the process.
While some of those arrested were released from custody, 17 were charged with disturbing public order and detained for a week or more. In 2016 police were called in 25% of the time during construction worker actions, according to CLB’s strike map, and workers were subjected to violence and arrest.