Beijing workers “barricaded” an American executive inside his office after a labor dispute over wages for five days.

Chip Starnes, co-owner of US company Specialty Medical Supplies, was seen behind the bars of his office window where he has been held hostage by dozens of workers.

Starnes, who had come to the factory in Qiaozi, north of Beijing, to lay off 30 employees, said the remaining 100 barred him from leaving and blocked all exits. The workers said they would not release Starnes until the dispute over outstanding pay is resolved, reports AFP.

“They adamantly said, I’m here to stay, live in my office and live on the cot until this gets done,” Starnes told AFP Tuesday by phone.

The Chinese general manager and the controller of the factory were also being held, according to Starnes.

Xinhua news agency reported that the workers were seeking two months’ overdue wages. But Starnes said that they are demanding to be laid off so they could receive severance packages.

Local authorities declined to intervene but said they were making sure no violence would break out in the factory.