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Backpay to be given to striking garden workers

EMPLOYEES at Daguan yuan Garden, or Grand View Garden, in Qingpu District, are to receive their last year's subsidy payments after they went on strike earlier this week.

The Qingpu District State-owned Assets Supervision and Administrative Commission yesterday promised to pay employees' subsidies by the end of July -- about 11,180 yuan (US$1,636) each.

More than 400 staff members refused to work on Tuesday because last year's subsidies hadn't been paid. The subsidies included Olympic awards and subsidies for transport and working in the summer heat, employees said.

Employees closed several gates of the garden on Tuesday morning in protest.

"During weekdays, we don't have many visitors, so the strike didn't affect the garden too much," said an official with the garden who identified himself as Wang.

However, he said that most of the employees earned a low wage of about 1,200 yuan a month.

"In fact, the garden is also having a hard time," said Wang. "We have been losing money for several years. Last year we lost 1 million yuan, which was an improvement on 2007."

After the strike, district government officials began negotiations with employees and reached an agreement.

"We are generally satisfied with the result," said an employee surnamed Teng.

Teng said the employees and the garden would discuss this year's award and subsidies later.

The garden, near Dianshan Lake, opened to the public in 1986. It was once one of the most popular scenic spots in the city because it was built according to the Grand View Garden described in the ancient Chinese novel "Dream of the Red Chamber."

But, as more scenic spots opened in Shanghai, the garden gradually fell out of favor with visitors.


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