The Socialist

The Socialist 9 May 2018

Tories out!

The Socialist issue 994

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China: Impressive, coordinated and daring crane drivers' strikes

Crane China, photo stefano meneghetti/CC

Crane China, photo stefano meneghetti/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Crane drivers in China's construction industry have taken strike action in dozens of cities across the country. It is quite simply the most impressive, coordinated and daring action taken by any group of workers in China for many years.

On 1 May, Labour Day, the workers called for a nationwide strike after a week filled with rolling strikes in different regions. Although May Day is a legal holiday in China, large numbers of workers are required to work, often without extra pay.

This is China - where strikes are illegal, organising is illegal, and protests are illegal.

The strike embraced 20 of China's provinces. A striking worker in Chengdu, just one city in one province on strike, told The Global Times newspaper, "There are at least 10,000 crane operators in Chengdu appealing for a salary raise."

The strike faces the world's most powerful dictatorial state.

The crane drivers have organised themselves online like many other workers in China, setting up closed chat groups on instant messaging apps such as QQ. These forums are attacked and blocked by the cyber police but regroup to maintain contact.

China's crane drivers, like almost all construction workers, are mainly migrants from poorer rural regions. Like most migrant workers they are hired casually, without job contracts, pensions or medical insurance. Crane drivers work under extreme pressure, on long shifts, without toilet breaks or rest periods.

Construction sites in China famously work around the clock. "If we are required to work for eight to nine hours, and then work more overtime at night, there will be no extra pay," one crane driver from Henan told Radio Free Asia. "You can work overtime until two o'clock in the morning, and the boss won't care. You can still have to work tomorrow as well."

The crane drivers are demanding a minimum pay of at least 7,000 yuan ($1,100) a month. Their wages have stagnated for a decade.

We are witnessing the stirring of a giant. Half the world's construction sites are in China and its construction workforce numbers around 60 million. It is a major contributor to China's GDP.

Chinaworker.info declares our full solidarity with the striking crane drivers, to fight for the realisation of their demands in full. We deplore the state repression against these workers and call for international workers' solidarity with the strikes, and the release of the arrested strikers. The need for independent workers' unions is once again underlined by this struggle, which also shows the enormous potential power of China's working class.


In this issue


Local elections 2018

Local election results are a major warning sign for Labour

The Tusc results

Southampton: Keith Morrell, anti-cuts councillor, re-elected

Haringey councillors need to fight austerity now

TUSC vote up in Waltham Forest but many voters stay away

TUSC stands against Birmingham council's cuts and attacks on workers

Strong TUSC result in Huddersfield


France '68

France '68: History's greatest general strike erupts


Socialist Party news and analysis

US president suggests gun control to blame for London knife deaths

Use TUC march as launch pad for action on pay

Breast cancer screening scandal


Israel/Palestine

Socialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

Socialists in Israel-Palestine reject establishment antisemitism charge against Jeremy Corbyn


Obituaries

Roger Shrives, 5 April 1947 - 1 May 2018

Keith Pattenden 28 September 1955 - 1 May 2018

Obituary: Tony Byrne 1939 - 2018


Socialist Party workplace news

Hull Energy Works: Unofficial strike action reinstates victimised workers

Defend Hull FE College - defend our city!

Victory against academisation at Avenue Primary

Firefighters ballot for action

PCS: A fighting strategy to defeat the Tory pay cap


International socialist news and analysis

Teachers revolt in Trump country

China: Impressive, coordinated and daring crane drivers' strikes

CWI news in brief


 

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9 May 2018