Chinese Workers Detain U.S. Boss Over Pay and Layoff Issues

athens protestSpecialty Medical Supplies China co-founder and president Chip Starnes cannot get out of his company’s Beijing factory. His employees have been preventing him from going out of the facility since June 21, Friday, due to worker layoff and severance package issues.

“I tried to leave a day and a half ago, and there was like 60 or 70 of them here inside every entrance, and every exit was barricaded,” Starnes said. “I can’t go anywhere.”

Starnes seems calm and treated well, despite his haggard look. He says that the problem started when 30 workers were laid off. There were transfers to other divisions. A number of employees don’t want to transfer, so he also laid them off and gave them severance packages. From there, some of the remaining workers whom he has already transferred to another division also want severance packages.

The workers, on the other hand, said that Starnes’s account of the situation is false. Many say they still haven’t received at least two months’ back pay. The plant workers were also scared that the layoffs would continue, as no new materials have been delivered to the factory.

This labor issue is still at a standstill, as both Starnes and his workers are unwilling to budge.