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March 11, 2014

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20 workers fired as IBM strike enters 2nd week

A STRIKE at a manufacturing subsidiary of IBM in south China’s Guangdong Province continued into its eighth day yesterday, with 20 protesters fired.

Workers at IBM Systems Technology Company (ISTC) in Shenzhen have been protesting since March 3 against a compensation package they claim is unsatisfactory and imposed without negotiations.

Twenty workers were fired in two batches yesterday for “disobeying company orders, absence without leave and gathering together during work times.”

 According to a statement issued by the company, contracts will be terminated immediately and the 20 asked to leave the company without compensation.

As of 8pm, about 100 workers were still protesting at the company square where dozens of tents have been set up.

“We won’t be allowed to enter the plant if we leave, so we have to stay here all night,” said one of the dismissed workers.

The human resources administration of Futian District has been involved since the first day of the strike.

IBM has refused to negotiate with the workers.

Chinese PC maker Lenovo announced in January a deal with IBM to buy its low-end server business for US$2.3 billion. The Shenzhen-based firm is included in the deal.

IBM informed ISTC workers of its offer on March 3. Workers at the company can either choose to stay with their remuneration unchanged, or resign voluntarily with a “reasonable and appropriate compensation package.”

IBM said last week the terms offered to the workers at the ISTC factory in Shenzhen were “comparable in aggregate to what they currently are receiving” and severance packages would be “equitable.”

Lenovo declined to comment.



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