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Chinese workers revolt over 2-minute toilet breaks

shanghai shinmei electric co manager hostages fined 50 yuan fired

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#1 Hum

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 13:33

BEIJING (AP) — 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.

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#2 Growled

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:11

Wow, and workers here in America think they have it bad.

#3 *RedBull*

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:45

Yea I find it dispicable that supervisors even considered that.

#4 ConfusedFusion

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:52

HR Managers come in different flavors an sizes. One of software companies I worked for many years ago asked me to sign a contract which had a clause that said that, should I quit the company then I should not work in the same industry, nor in any city that the company has branches or should work in any office that is within the 10 mile radius of the HQ. I still have a copy of the contract, but did not sign it :)

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 14:50

The workers should just pee in a bottle at their work area. :p

#6 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 14:53

The workers should just pee in a bottle at their work area. :p


The same for #2 :p

Man that's just too harsh... The article states the managers agreed to reconsider, is there any followup on that?

#7 OP Hum

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 14:56

^ The managers had their heads flushed in the toilets.

#8 Growled

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:34

The workers should just pee in a bottle at their work area. :p


You'd be a tough one to work for. :D

#9 compl3x

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:58

Why do employers think treating workers like **** is a good thing? If you cynically snip out the moral and ethical issues, all evidence leads to the conclusion that the better you treat workers, the better they work.

#10 Enron

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:05

They have squatter toilets there, 2 minutes is plenty of time!

#11 +chconline

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:10

I think we should take a look at both sides of the story. Sure there may be harsh managers, but there is a reason why they are enacting such rules. This is probably a problem that people are abusing their break time and causing the company damages. Just to be fair, lol.

#12 +Medfordite

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:16

They have squatter toilets there, 2 minutes is plenty of time!


Unless of course you have the case of the bends (diahrreah), and have to keep running back and forth there. Or, you are hovered over that hole in the ground puking your guts out because you are forced to work while sick. (Contractual thing or maybe their labor is so bad - remember the suicides that Apple had at their iPad/iPod plant, that is what me thinks it is so strict.)

Then of course, you have those that maybe had that extra hard meal on their body that now requires a laxitive. Probably takes at least 1 minute to walk across the hall/building/floor wherever to use the restroom let alone back.

They clearly knew what they were doing when they put this into effect knowing that each laboror would rather work than lose their job as a result of such tight restrictions.

When I was a call center drone - I would have no more than 6 1/2 minutes for a restroom break per day which for the most part was good until you had to run across the call center floor to the other one because the men's room was in use. For guys, it is pretty quick to use the restroom anyway, not sure about women. My wife is pretty quick in the bathroom herself, but I have known a few to take several minutes. Most of the time spent, checking hair, fixing makeup, updating Facebook status etc...

Bottom line - I agree that limits should be put in place, but 2 minutes is practically inhumane. You should next time you are at work/school and have to use the facilities pull up your stopwatch app on your phone, or watch whatever, and time yourself. Sure as heck, it will probably be 3 minutes total. (Unless you sit right next to a bathroom - in that case, I feel sorry for you) :x

#13 OP Hum

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 16:50

Maybe the best solution is to have the workers off the clock, if they go over a certain amount of time, in the restroom.

I do realize that some workers go overboard with pee breaks.

#14 Growled

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:49

I do realize that some workers go overboard with pee breaks


I can't speak for China but I know they do in America. We've actually had to go into the bathroom and get some of them after 20 minutes.