DaimlerChrysler's joint venture with the Chinese government has come under fire in recent days from retired plant workers who are claiming that they are owed years of past payments for pensions and are claiming that the plant suffers from massive corruption. Here's a snippet from Yahoo! News.
About 200 retired car workers blocked traffic in Beijing Wednesday to protest years of overdue pension payments and corruption, dispersing peacefully only after factory officials agreed to meet them, witnesses said.
The protest outside the plant was the latest in a rash of demonstrations across China by laid-off workers demanding back pay or compensation for thin retirement benefits at a time of wrenching reforms to the lumbering state sector.
Frustrated elderly retirees told Reuters they crowded the gates of the ailing Beijing Automobile and Motorcycle Works factory early Wednesday expecting to meet management but found themselves locked out.
The retirees, some feeble and in their seventies, spilled into streets and blocked traffic for several hours along the busy thoroughfare in the eastern part of the capital, witnesses said.
Police negotiated with the crowd amid a cacophony of car horns, and only convinced them to clear the streets after company officials agreed to hear their claims Thursday morning at the plant, witnesses said.
Beijing Automobile Works once belonged to a state-owned conglomerate responsible for China's first joint venture, Beijing Jeep. That 1983 merger between Beijing Automotive Industry and the former American Motors Corp was inherited by Chrysler in 1987 and DaimlerChrysler in 1998.
The Beijing Jeep venture took the quality assets of the factory where Wednesday's protests flared, and the plant was reorganized as a separate car and motorcycle factory.
Production dwindled in the crowded sector, however, and was recently halted ahead of its imminent shutdown, said an official.
"Our production has been suspended and we are in the process of taking apart the plant," she told Reuters.
About 5,000 still employed by the plant were facing forced early retirement or possible layoffs, workers said.
The elderly women said they could not comprehend how a firm once tied to what was once China's most prominent joint venture could leave its veterans in the lurch.
"The company was profitable for many years and we had a lot to do with that," said the 68-year-old worker. "Then all of the sudden there was nothing."