Chinese Workers Take Japanese Bosses Hostage To Protest 2-Minute Limit On Bathroom Breaks

Shinmei Electric protests China Shanghai

Photo: YouTube Screenshot

This weekend Shanghai factory workers took 10 of their Japanese bosses hostage at Shinmei Electric Company factory, the Japan Times reports.The South China Morning Post reports that the number of striking workers numbered over 1,000, with the hostage situation beginning on Friday and only ending after the intervention of Chinese police on Saturday night.

Chinese managers were also taken hostage, according to reports.

Strict working standards at the factory, introduced after its recent acquisition by a Chinese company, appear to have lead to the strike. One security guard explained the situation to the AP earlier today:

“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 […] The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”

Another worker backed up that explanation in a microblogging post cited by the SCMP:

“We earn less than 2,000 yuan [US$321] a month, but we could be subjected to fines of 50 to 100 yuan for arriving late or spending more than two minutes in the toilet.”

Shinmei Electric President Hideaki Tamura was visiting the plant when the incident occurred, Japan Daily reports. The Japanese Consulate General reported no injuries, but SCMP says one Chinese manager with hypertension passed out and a number of protesters were injured.

Shinmei Electric Company has apologized for the working standards and says it will plan to raise salaries, according to a statement from the company.

This Japanese TV news broadcast shows images from the protest:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.