Construction workers in China protest Gangnam style to gain a promise.
Every February, China comes to a standstill for the “Spring Festival”, when most of the country’s more than 200 million migrant workers return home to spend the Chinese New Year with their families. Crowded train stations, long lines at airports, the shuttering of restaurants that depend on migrant labour, and week-long fireworks are annual features of the 10-day holiday.
Another curious characteristic of the Spring Festival is a surge in labour disputes, often sparked by the failure of companies to pay wages before their employees head home for the holidays.
This year has been no different, with regular reports of strikes and clashes in factories in the southern manufacturing heartland. But one group of migrant workers in central Wuhan decided to express their anger in a different way.
Gathering in a busy downtown area, they danced “Gangnam style” — the ubiquitous and catchy moves popularised by South Korean musician PSY — in front of a night club to attract the media’s attention to their plight — and, no doubt, shame their bosses.
According to the Wuhan Evening News, their moves seem to have worked. The 40 construction workers, who were owed 233,000 yuan (around Rs. 20 lakh), were promised payment by a manager after their performance. “I will call the quality supervision authority to check,” a manager named Xiao was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Daily. “If the building passes the check, I will pay all of the money.”