25 January 2018 Around 30 employees working at a brick factory in Nanchang, the capital of central China’s Jiangxi province, […]
25 January 2018
Around 30 employees working at a brick factory in Nanchang, the capital of central China’s Jiangxi province, were collectively owed 90,000 yuan ($14,050) by their employer who had failed to pay them on time.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, some workers agreed to receive 290,000 bricks in exchange for 80,000 yuan of their owed earnings.
All of the workers are poor migrants from the mountains of Yunnan province in the nation’s far southwest, according to Jiangxi Daily.
The employees were reportedly forced to live “by candlelight, with wood fire heating” due to their lack of payment.
The unusual brick deal was struck after the local labour department took the case to the courts.
The story has attracted the attention of Chinese social media users, with many asking why more isn’t being done to protect vulnerable migrant workers against employers set on exploiting them.
“Why is it always rural migrant workers that are paid in arrears?” asks one user.
Another user joked about the bursting of China’s housing bubble, pointing out that bricks may actually be a valued asset.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions claims to have helped more than five million migrant workers receive unpaid wages of up to 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) over the past five years.