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IBM factory strike shows shifting China labor landscape

09
Mar
2014

By John Ruwitch SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A wildcat strike at an IBM factory in southern China illustrates how tectonic shifts under way in the countrys labor market are emboldening workers to take matters into their own hands, raising risks for multinationals. More than 1,000 workers walked off the job last week at the factory in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, after managers on March 3 announced the terms of their transfer to new ownership under Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. Lenovo agreed in January to pay $2.3 billion for International Business Machines low-end server business. The strike, which continued into Sunday, fits a growing pattern of industrial activism that has emerged as Chinas economy has slowed. A worsening labor shortage has shifted the balance of power in labor relations, while smartphones and social media have helped workers organize and made them more aware than ever of the changing environment, experts say.

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