‘I feel like a trapped animal’: Workers holding U.S. executive hostage in Chinese factory over wages

National Post | News

BEIJING — Chinese workers keeping an American executive confined to his Beijing medical supply factory said Tuesday that they had not been paid in two months in a compensation dispute that highlights tensions in China’s labour market.

The executive, Chip Starnes of Specialty Medical Supplies, denied the workers’ allegations of two months of unpaid wages, as he endured a fifth day of captivity at the plant in the capital’s northeastern suburbs, peering out from behind the bars of his office window.

About 100 workers are demanding back pay and severance packages identical to those offered 30 workers being laid off from the Coral Springs, Florida-based company’s plastics division. The demands followed rumours that the entire plant was being closed, despite Starnes’ assertion that the company doesn’t plan to fire the others.

“I feel like a trapped animal,” Starnes told The Associated Press on Monday from his first-floor office window, while…

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