Chinese Trade Group to Mediate Shoe Factory Strike – ABC News. When it comes to getting news about China that is accurate and informative, it is nearly impossible. Because of the bias against overseas news (unless it is a “sensational story”), American media is always two steps behind and very superficial (maybe because they do not want to offend their Chinese Associates?). The BBC News and AlJazeera are usually better when it comes to International news.
So here is the biggest news story that nobody has heard of. Forget Ukraine. Since April 5, 2014, Chinese workers have been striking against the largest shoe manufacturer in the world, Yue Yuen. It is estimated that 40,000 workers have been on strike and over 3,000 have participated as part of a protest march. That is correct – for over two weeks and you have heard not word one.
Who is Yue Yuen?
Yue Yuen is a shoe manufacturer (the largest in the world). It makes shoes for Addidas, Nike, Timberland, Under Armour, Merrell, Salomon, Crocs, Asics, Reebok, Puma, New Balance, Converse and Reebok (Boston Globe story). Yue Yuan makes athletic and casual outdoor shoes as well as sandals. The Taiwanese- owned company employed at total of 460,000 workers in 2011. It has factories in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and the U.S. Yue Yuen operates 3 factories in the Guangdong province, which employs 60,000 workers. The strike is occurring in Dongguan City, a key manufacturing center in China and located 30 kilometers east of Guangzhou (another major city). Yue Yuen made over 300 million pairs of shoes last year making a net profit of $434.8 million in profits on $7.58 billion revenues (40,000 workers strike in Southern China story). Here is another link about the largest shoe manufacturer that you have never heard about from the BBC. You kind of get the feeling that all of our athletic shoes come from the same company. For the most part that is true.
What is the Strike About?
One of the biggest changes in Chinese society since its reform and opening is that the two traditional sources of social welfare, especially for the elderly, have diminished because of privatization and population controls: state-owned enterprises and the children of aging parents. To help, officials passed a social insurance law in 2011, requiring that all employers in the country enroll staff in pensions, medical insurance, worker’s compensation, unemployment, and maternity insurance.