DDS workers demanding back pay from govt

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-28 07:44
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Shenzhen employees paid due wages while others wait it out

GUANGZHOU: Authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, yesterday began paying workers whose wages have been defaulted by a local express delivery company due to its sudden closure. But thousands of workers in the company's branches in other cities in the province, including Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan, are still in a tough run for repayment from local governments.

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DDS, a private express delivery company, closed all its businesses early last week due to an over-heated expansion of its business on the mainland, leaving thousands of workers suffering from salary default.

"I'm very thankful. After days of appealing to the government, I am finally repaid," said a former DDS worker surnamed Li.

At the Xixiang street labor and social security station in Bao'an district of Shenzhen, Li was paid for his past two months of work.

"Nearly 400 workers like me are paid by the government today," Li told China Daily.

Officials with the labor authorities did not reveal how much was paid to workers yesterday, but said more payments will be arranged for workers in other districts beginning today.

DDS, founded in October 1997 in Shenzhen, has at least 10,000 workers in the southern coastal city. It has defaulted as much as 4.86 million yuan ($715,000) in workers' pay in Shenzhen following its closure.

The company moved its headquarters to Shanghai early last February due to its business expansion in eastern China. But its businesses in the Pearl River Delta cities of Guangzhou, Dongguan, Foshan and Zhongshan were suddenly suspended on Jan 21.

DDS's chairman, Gao Wei, has been detained for further investigation and his assets were frozen after the company was unable to pay its debts last Thursday, local media reported.

In the past several days, Li, along with thousands of workers of DDS in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Foshan, surrounded the company's local distribution centers and local labor and social security department offices in an attempt to get their due salaries or payments for goods.

Unlike workers in Shenzhen, those in Guangzhou, Dongguan and Foshan are still waiting for the government to help them get due salaries and payments.

As a result, nearly 200 workers of DDS's Guangzhou offices gathered again in front of the city's government offices to appeal for local authorities' attention to the matter.

"The boss has run away. But the government here has not issued any compensation plans for us," said Huang Junjie, an employee of the company's Guangzhou office.

Huang said DDS did not pay him up to 10,000 yuan of salaries last December and another 10,000 yuan was still held as margins in the company.

"We hope that the Guangzhou government could do what its counterparts in Shenzhen did, and pay us first. We want go home with money for the upcoming Spring Festival," Huang, from central China's Hubei province, told China Daily yesterday.

According to Huang, more than 600 workers' salaries have been defaulted by the company in Guangzhou alone.

"Lots of them cannot make it without the defaulted wages. So they could only go for help from the government," Huang said.

Zhong Ling, a press official with the Guangzhou labor and social security bureau, said that the authority has worked closely with public security and industrial and commercial departments to resolve the issue.

Ding Yan, an official with the labor and social security department of Tianhe district of Guangzhou, told Xinhua earlier that an arbitration ruling might be issued on Feb 10.

"We have reported the issue to the city government. But we need to conduct a thorough investigation into the case before a complete plan is issued," Ding said.

Nearly 300 employees of DDS have come to the bureau in the last several days to go through the procedure for labor dispute arbitration, Ding said.

The department estimated that the amount of salary defaulted by the company in Guangzhou alone tops 8 million yuan.

Following DDS' closure, Guangdong provincial post service company has taken over its business in the Pearl River Delta region.

Chen Hong contributed to the story

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