Chip Starnes, CEO of Specialty Medical Supplies, flew to his company’s factory in China to lay off 30 workers as a first step in shifting production to India, where wages are lower. It is difficult to feel sorry for him regarding what subsequently occurred. Via Libcom:
Workers at a medical supplies factory in Beijing, China, have taken the owner of the factory hostage. He has been locked in his office for several days, and subject to sleep deprivation techniques. The action was taken following a dispute over unpaid wages and severance pay.
The factory boss, Chip Starnes, visited the factory last week to lay-off thirty workers. He gave them a redundancy payment and then intended on leaving. As soon as the rest of the workers on shift realised what was happening they thought the entire factory was about to close down and barricaded him in his office.
When interviewed, workers also claimed that their action was also due to unpaid wages over the last few months. The company deny there are any wages outstanding.
It has since surfaced that Starnes has made secret plans to shift production out of China, where wages in manufacturing have risen by 20% in less than a decade.
In a strange turn of events the police are treating the kidnapping as an internal/industrial dispute, and are refusing to intervene as they do not believe Mr. Starnes to be in immediate physical danger.
Company lawyers are said to be attempting to resolve what they describe as a ‘misunderstanding’.