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Chinese workers return home after strike in Romania
4/2/2007 10:05

Nineteen female workers who had been employed in a textile factory in Romania arrived in Shanghai yesterday after they went on strike demanding higher wages and better living conditions.

The female workers started the strike from January 16 this year in a clothing factory in Bacau, northeast of Bucharest, after the Romanian factory manager Sorin Nicolescu amended the contract to cancel bottom wage and double workload.

The workers said they were surprised that the manager unilaterally changed the contract, but many were reluctant to return home because they had not earned much money but had paid "a high amount of fees" to a Xiamen-based intermediary employment agency in east China's Fujian Province.

Zhou Juping, a female worker, said she was disappointed that the factory only provided accommodation, and her peers were left hungry most of the time.

After the strike, the Chinese Embassy in Romania sent diplomatic staff to urge the factory to protect the workers' legal rights.

The factory announced they would drop the amendment, but some workers said "they have lost faith" and decided to go home.

Nearly 50 workers will return to China in a few days to come.

Groups of female workers arrived in Bacau beginning July last year. The total number amounted to about 350 at the end of January. None of them can speak English or Romanian.

Romania textile industry turned to import foreign workers after many domestic garment industry workers were allowed to go and work abroad after the country joined the European Union on January 1.