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Yangdong workers, officials in talks
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Workers at a diesel engine factory in Jiangsu province were in talks with local officials yesterday after days of protests over job security at the troubled firm, locals and police said.

Many of the 2,000 workers at the Yangdong Co Ltd plant in Jiangyan had blocked local highways, surrounded government offices and yelled chants of "Save our jobs", local resident Yu Changjiang told news agency Reuters.

"They went to the city government yesterday to demand action, and I think officials are talking to them today," he said.

A police officer said officials had earlier sought to defuse the dispute, which is apparently centered on the fate of company assets.

He denied a report that workers had kidnapped senior Yangdong executive Wang Jianming.

Another worker, who refused to give her name, said that the employees were angry with both their bosses and officials.

"The main problem with the factory is poor returns, and old-age pensions that are owed have not been given out," she said.

An unnamed press officer with the Yangdong Party committee told China Daily yesterday he was aware of the dispute, but denied reports that anyone had been kidnapped.

"No one has been kidnapped," he said.

An anonymous labor official echoed the comment.

"Wang (Jianming) is at a hotel and some workers are there to file complaints," he said.

"He is not under any kind of threat and the talks are ongoing."

He declined to say if any agreements had been reached between the two sides.

Gao Wandong from the Yangdong labor bureau said there had been no complaints about the company delaying the payment of pensions.

"We have no record of any pay-related disputes involving the company," he said.

(China Daily, Agencies, November 12, 2008)

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