About 2,000 workers at a Sanyo Universal Electric plant in Thailand burned the office building and four-story warehouse containing refrigerators, TVs, and air conditioners, to the ground December 17. They were protesting a substantial reduction in year-end bonuses. Bonuses and overtime pay make up a substantial proportion of take-home wages for most workers in Thailand. "The management says they don't have enough money to give us more," a factory worker, who identified herself as Anna, told reporters. "But they are lying. I've been working here seven years and this is the first time they'll give us less than the previous year." Police arrested and charged six workers with setting the blaze; the workers denied the charges.
The following day authorities responded to another protest against reduced bonuses, this time by 1,500 workers at the Krung Thai Bank, Thailand's second largest commercial bank. The government offered to make up the difference with last year's payment.