A new wave of strikes are taking place in China. This time it is not among rural migrant workers working in sweatshops, but among drivers and employees in the urban public transportation sector. It indicates how inflation and soaring costs are affecting city dwellers whose living standards keep depreciating.
Taxi drivers strike in Hangzhou
In Hangzhou, the largest city in Zhejiang Province in eastern China, a taxi drivers strike began on August 1, 2011 and continued for about three days.
Famous current affairs columnist and Weibo micro-blogger, Chen Jieren reported on August 2:
According to Reuters, the striking drivers were not satisfied with the offer, and continued their protest. Reuters also reported that drivers’ attempts to post comments to Weibo were being blocked or removed, and that local media refused to cover the strike.
Human rights lawyer Zhang Kai explained the reason behind the taxi strike:
Also on Weibo, @hzhouse pointed out that the problem with exploitation of taxi license holding companies has not been solved:
A set of photos showing the living condition of an ordinary taxi driver has attracted a lot of attention on Weibo (via @2074609565).
On August 3, @zhaxuchu criticized Hangzhou city mayor's stability-comes-first principle in responding to the taxi strike:
Railway workers strike in Changsha
Employees of the railway company also held a strike at the Changsha railway station in Hunan province in south-central China on August 2, 2011. The incident is highly sensitive, because the Chinese Communist Party marks a series of railway workers’ strikes in 1922 as an early success of the political movement.
A Changsha-based lawyer, Gan Yuanchun shared the news with a photo:
The lawyer quoted a BBS (online bulletin board) report that there were around 300 railway workers on strike at Changsha railway station. It is unclear what has triggered the strike. A local newspaper, ‘Daily Economic News’ followed the story and said that the strike was triggered by a minor labour dispute over the replacement of several passenger carriage directors at the Zhuzhou Service Division from Guangzhou Railway Corporation. Nevertheless, netizens still noticed the political implications of railway workers in the history of the People's Republic of China. In Gan Yuanchun's discussion thread:
hampan 铁路工人再做一次先锋队？(8月3日 21:17)
非典型医生 我外公，就参加过广州铁路工人大#罢*工。恍如隔世啊~~~(8月3日 21:11)
浩浩歌爾 回复@Nethuhz:工人们起来了，我们学生也应该上场了~！(8月3日 20:45)