US boss walks free after pay agreement

China Featured - June 28th, 2013

An American boss whose staff at a factory in Beijing held him captive for a week over a pay dispute walked free Thursday.

Chip Starnes said he agreed to severance payments to scores of workers, South China Morning Post reports. Nearly 100 workers barricaded Starnes in his office and demanded him to pay owed salary after believing the entire factory was shutting down.

Starnes had reportedly come to the medical supply plant in Huairou district to lay off 30 workers to transfer a department of the factory to India, while the remaining workers would still be employed.

“I am saddened and tired,” Starnes said. He said the workers’ demands were unjustified and said it was “business suicide” to agree to pay severance to workers who were not being laid off.

He declined to give details on how much money the workers are being paid, reports Financial Times.

Chu Lixiang, an official from the Huairou District Labor Union, said the dispute “has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction”.

Police in Huairou made no moves to halt the labour action but said they were ensuring Starnes’ safety.