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January 20, 2011

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Angry creditors stage sit-in at lingerie company

FACTORY owners and workers staged a sit-in at a Shanghai lingerie company's offices yesterday, demanding delayed payments.

But they found the boss had gone, leaving only staff who have not been paid for more than a month.

Creditors from 11 factories - mostly small family-run workshops in Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu Province - hung banners at Shanghai Miiow Clothes Company and refused to leave.

Police and security guards at the offices on Hengfeng Road near the Shanghai Railway Station watched from outside.

Creditors said they had provided products as agreed, but had not received payment.

They said Miiow Clothes owed them more than 4 million yuan (US$607,614), but was only willing to pay with products.

Creditors said these were "old-fashioned clothes manufactured in 2007."

One factory owner, Su Guoning from Taixing, Jiangsu Province, said she and one of her workers came to collect payment at the end of December and met other creditors.

"More workers in my factory will come because they need the money for the Spring Festival," said another owner, Huang Zhenhua.

Miiow Clothes staff said their boss had refused to face the creditors for "security concerns," and then disappeared yesterday. They gathered at a conference room because creditors were occupying their workstations.

Staff said they had not paid for more than a month and that the 50 employees were owed 800,000 yuan.

They claimed their boss asked them to take a long vacation from Monday after an increasing number of creditors came calling.

"We suspect the boss was playing tricks on us as she didn't even say when to come back to work, so we still come to the office every day," one member of staff said.

She said they were frightened because angry creditors turned up daily. "They ask us for money, but we are also victims," she said.

The employee said the company lost money recently.


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