Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tragic Shortage of Bras Due to Chinese Worker's Strike

Chinese factory workers across the Pearl River Delta have gone on strike, protesting low wages and limited opportunities, in the midst of an export slowdown. Regrettably, even bra factories have been affected, with the result that even fashion models are being caught without bras (see below).
The strains underline recent warnings of a looming export slowdown from a senior Guangdong official and a survey of country-wide industrial activity in November that showed the worst contraction since 2009.

At Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings' giant shoe factory in Huangjiang town — a major supplier for sports brand New Balance — the mood remained tense after most of its 8,000 workers took to the streets on Thursday, blocking roads, overturning cars and clashing with police.

Experts and labor advocacy groups warn an external economic slowdown in debt-stricken Europe and countries like the United States could exacerbate the risk of social upheaval in China.

Besides labor disputes, Guangdong province — a crucial locomotive of China's economic growth with a GDP matching Indonesia's — has been roiled in recent months by riots over rural land grabs in Lufeng city, and abuse of power several hours drive west in the city of Zengcheng that saw angry crowds ransack government buildings.

A former deputy editor-in-chief of the official party newspaper, the People's Daily, said the number of “mass incidents” in China, an official euphemism for social disorder, was consistently above 90,000 per year from 2007 to 2009.

...As leaner times provoke aggressive factory cost-cutting and wage trimming, Chinese workers increasingly lashed by persistent inflation are often in no mood to compromise.

In a recent report, consultancy Exclusive Analysis said it sees growing risks of “violent labor unrest” flaring up in Chinese factories and causing property damage and losses, adding: “Real-time use of social media by striking workers and firms' decreased ability to meet workers' demands due to falling Western export demand are likely to drive this violence.”

Europe's economic woes, Chinese manufacturing fragility and flat consumer spending in the United States have all raised the risk that the world is headed for a steep downturn. _ChinaPost
Be that as it may, the threat of being forced to go without bras is sending panic through the ranks of most affluent western women over the age of 30. Some middle aged feminists have even threatened retribution against the Chinese government. If shipments of bras (particularly "wonder bras") to the west are not resumed, they threaten to send planeloads of feminists to the communist mainland to incite ill feeling between the sexes within the celestial kingdom.

No word yet on any response from China's leaders to the feminists' ultimatum.

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