Insulted Chinese end strike after Japanese manager apologizes

Kyodo News, Japan Today, Monday 14 June 2004 at 21:22 JST

BEIJING—A Japanese manager at a Ricoh Co factory in south China has apologized to end a weekend strike by 500 workers upset that the manager had yelled obscenities at female employees, a source at the factory and a factory workers' rights group said Monday.

The Sunday apology from a manager of Ricoh Enterprise Development Co in Shenzhen ended a Saturday strike by about a quarter of the company's employees, said a worker and a statement from the New York-based advocacy group China Labor Watch.

Employees were angry that the Japanese boss, speaking in Chinese, used foul language and accused them of having mental illnesses, according to China Labor Watch.

They stopped work Saturday to demand an apology, a promise not to repeat the insults and a related notice posted on the premises.

A Japanese consular official in Beijing said he had not heard about the strike. No one answered the company's main phone line at press time Monday.

Ricoh, a 68-year-old global Japanese office machine manufacturer, pays its Shenzhen workers $0.40 per hour for 12-hour shifts, China Labor Watch says.

The organization urged the company not to fire any of the striking employees.

While investing in China, respect Chinese workers, respect the Chinese labor laws, the statement says. (Kyodo News)