Workers, Sony at odds over sale to Shenzhen company

Updated 2016-11-29 09:55:39 Global Times

Although workers at a Sony plant in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, are considering a new round of protests, Sony (China) said the company has reached a settlement with its employees and the factory is operating normally.

More than two weeks after Sony Electronics Huanan Co (SEH), a fully owned Chinese subsidiary of Sony Corp, was sold to A-share listed technology company Shenzhen O-Firm Tech Co on November 7, hundreds of workers expressed their anger through Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat over what they said were unfair settlements SEH has made.

"The factory has been lying about having actively communicated with workers' representatives about the deal that it made with O-Firm Tech. We only found at the last minute, which goes against the regulations and rules for labor unions in China," a female employee surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Monday.

Also, when the Nikkei Asian Review reported a few days ago that the workers had been protesting in a violent way, "it covered this issue in a biased way, which made the situation more difficult," another employee told the Global Times during the weekend, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Don't sell the factory to a Chinese company without any explanation!" workers were quoted as saying in Nikkei's report.

Many workers said the identity of the buyer was not the issue. They are angry, they said, that SEH never discussed remuneration under the new corporate structure before the sale.

Workers said it was unfair that the Japanese media blamed the employees. Some provided the Global Times with detailed union meeting records.

Two days after Sony announced the deal, the first labor union meeting was held, according to the records. During the meeting, employees asked for more details about the acquisition plans, buyout offers, and a deadline for Sony to reply to these requests.

Some workers told the Global Times during the weekend that they are not against the deal. What frustrated them was that they had no right to know what was going on until the factory was sold.

Sony said there would be no change in employees' pay, the length of their initial employment and their contracts during the transfer of the factory, according to an announcement sent to the Global Time on Monday.

It said that more than 90 percent of the employees are back at work and the factory is operating normally.

Workers said, however, that they were forced to return to work by signing unfair agreements, and some said they have mortgages to pay so they are afraid of getting fired. Sony on Monday fired five workers who had allegedly organized another small-scale protest, read another announcement by the company.

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