• Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Gangnam style wage protests in Wuhan

Staff Reporter 2013-01-29 15:35 (GMT+8)
The hastily assembled dance troupe. (Internet photo)

The hastily assembled dance troupe. (Internet photo)

China's migrant workers are getting into the celebratory mood for the coming Lunar New Year holiday as they engage in wage "talks" with their employers, reports Duowei News, an online news network operated by overseas Chinese.

On Jan. 21, more than 10 migrant workers in Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province, took up horse-riding Gangnam style in front of Stars Boulevard Concert Club. Their foreman, known only as "Master Lu," wore sunglasses in imitation of Korean pop star PSY. While dancing was obviously not their forte, the workers were there to protest unpaid work for 40 of their co-workers approaching the holidays, according to the local Wuhan Evening News.

"Workers constantly ask me for money. I can't even get a good night's sleep," said Master Lu. "I have had to give more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,600) out of my own pocket to pay them."

The money Wu has handed over is not nearly enough to stem the tide of workers clamoring for their pay, forcing Wu to bring their case to the public's attention. "I phoned the boss of the construction unit, who has refused to answer the phone. I have to bring these workers to dance and draw everybody's attention," he said.

Among the group, 61-year-old Ceng is the oldest. He claims to be owed more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,210) in wages, and his whole family is depending on him to bring home the money during the upcoming vacations. Another worker surnamed Luo said he has three children still at school depending on him to pay their tuition fees and living expenses, but he is waiting to receive over 9,000 yuan (US$1,450) from his employer. "If I can't get the money, not only can I not go back home but I will be unable to keep my children in school. I cannot let my children down," Luo said.

The 40 workers are demanding a total of 233,000 yuan (US$37,400) in unpaid wages.

Who`s who »
Zhai Jun (翟雋)

Zhai Jun is China's deputy minister of foreign affairs. A native of Hebei province, he was born in 1954 and holds a bachelor's degress in British literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University....