Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks

Updated 22 January 2013
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Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks

BEIJING: Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.
About 1,000 workers at Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company held the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai starting Friday morning until 11:50 p.m. Saturday, said a statement from the parent company, Shinmei Electric Co., released Monday. It said the managers were released uninjured after 300 police officers were called to the factory.
A security guard at the Shanghai plant said Tuesday that workers had gone on strike to protest the company’s issuing of new work rules, including time limits on bathroom breaks and fines for being late.
“The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($8) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice,” said the security guard, surnamed Feng. “The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”
The plant makes electromagnetic coils and other electronic products. It was closed Tuesday, said a man who answered at the plant but refused to identify himself. He said no workers were on strike and staff would return to work on Wednesday.
Strikes have become commonplace in China, as factories operating in highly competitive markets try to get more productivity from their labor force and workers connected by mobile phones and the Internet become more aware of their rights.
Shinmei Electric’s statement didn’t say specifically what the workers were protesting, but said management reforms and labor policies were believed to be a cause. It said talks were under way with workers at the plant and that police were questioning staff.
A man who refused to give his name from the press office of the Shanghai police bureau said he had no information about the incident and referred calls to the Shanghai government press office, where calls rang unanswered.


Tanzanian police say driver identified in billionaire kidnapping

Updated 19 October 2018
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Tanzanian police say driver identified in billionaire kidnapping

  • Dewji, 43, who is considered Africa’s youngest billionaire, was seized by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam Thursday morning last week.
  • His family is offering a reward of half a million dollars (435,000 euros) for information that would help police find him.

NAIROBI: Tanzanian police said Friday they had identified the driver of a vehicle used in the kidnapping of Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji, who was snatched over a week ago.
Dewji, 43, who is considered Africa’s youngest billionaire, was seized by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam Thursday morning last week.
His family is offering a reward of half a million dollars (435,000 euros) for information that would help police find him.
Police chief Simon Sirro told a press conference that surveillance videos at the hotel had captured images of the vehicle used by the kidnappers, a dark blue 4X4.
“We have been able to identify the vehicle. So we have advanced a lot in our investigation, we will publish these photos,” he said.
“On top of that we know this car entered the country on September 1 from a neighboring country,” Sirro added, refusing to name the country.
“We already have the names of the vehicle’s owner and the driver.”
Sirro said he would send Tanzanian police to the neighboring country in question, without giving any details.
He said that of 27 people arrested eight were still in custody.
The opposition has called for independent international investigators to take over the probe, citing an increase in kidnappings and attacks in which no one is ever brought to book.
Dewji is chief executive of the MeTL Group, which operates in a dozen countries and has interests in agriculture, insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry.
According to Forbes, he is worth $1.5 billion (1.29 billion euros) and ranks 17th on the list of African billionaires.
He was a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015, and in 2013 became the first Tanzanian to feature on the cover of Forbes magazine. Two years later, he was named Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.