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Workers block road in protest over job cuts

HUNDREDS of workers at a holding company of French firm Alstom in central China's Wuhan City blocked a major road in protest at potential job cuts, local authorities said yesterday.

More than 1,000 workers of Wuhan Boiler Co Ltd started blocking Wuluo Road, the major road in Wuhan City, capital of Hubei Province, around 9am. Traffic resumed at about 10am after police dispersed the crowd.

The protest was triggered by a company plan on Wednesday for more than 580 of its 2,300 employees to "receive training while awaiting job assignments."

The company started relocating to a new base in May. Because of higher mechanization and automation at the new factory, only 800 to 1,000 workers are needed, compared with the current 2,300.

Workers said they feared the company would leave them jobless as the "training" was due to finish at the end of the year when their work contracts expired.

Government officials and the company's management were meeting with workers last night.

Alstom bought the company in August 2007 and holds 51 percent of the shares.


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