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China Worker's Daily defends laid off women workers in Hebei

     Laid-off women workers in Hebei province have blamed factory
management for their plight. A worker from a plant where the
management changed five times in 10 years told researchers: "One
group of rats stuffed themselves and left but another pack of
hungry rats will soon take their places until all the assets of the
factory have been squandered."

Another complained: "They have cars, apartments, mobile phones and
everything. They go on study tours in China and abroad but the
factories are all in poor shape. We get nothing from this and they
are never the ones to lose their jobs." 

The Worker's Daily  yesterday spoke out on behalf of the women. It
carried a survey by Hebei General Trade Union of 259 laid-off women
workers in eight cities in the province. Few had found new jobs and
most were suffering serious psychological problems. Eighty per cent
said they could not reconcile themselves to being unemployed and 58
per cent blamed the disappearance of their jobs on poor management.

The survey found the women could not find new jobs in other
factories because they had surplus staff.

The newspaper also said workers were furious that officials were
forcing re-employed workers to be issued with "special difficulty
certificates" to pay "administration fees". "This provokes a big
reaction. Some of them tear their certificates in pieces on the
spot," the paper said. The certificates are supposed to entitle
recipients to reductions in rent, school fees and special tax

(South China Morning Post 18th November 1997. Internet version)