China police detain workers demanding back pay in rare case of detentions in labour dispute

BEIJING, China – Activists say police in southern China have detained seven employees of a shoe factory amid a quarrel over back pay and benefits in a rare case of detentions in a labour dispute.

Rights advocate Peng Jiayong said Wednesday that employees went to the Xinsheng shoe factory in Guangzhou on Monday after the local government promised a “satisfactory” solution to the dispute. They were met with about 200 hundred police officers who took away workers’ representatives.

Chinese authorities usually try to help broker solutions to labour disputes and rarely detain workers.

Peng says 116 Xinsheng workers are demanding 5 million yuan ($820,000) in back pay and benefits after the shoe factory decided to relocate.

Guangzhou police did not immediately respond a request for comment.