Beijing Workers still Holding U.S. Boss Over Pay

Created: 2013-06-27 00:33 EST

Category: China

A U.S. businessman being held captive by disgruntled workers at this factory on the outskirts of Beijing says he is hopeful the row will be resolved soon.

Chip Starnes, president of the Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies, has been held since Friday in a dispute over pay.

The 42-year-old said that he has not been physically harmed, but that workers are trying to intimidate him.

According to Starnes, about 100 employees are demanding severance packages following rumors he was shutting the plant down.

Starnes said he moved part of the production line to India due to rising costs in China, but that no more layoffs were planned.

In a brief meeting with reporters, he said he was confident the dispute would be solved soon.

[Chip Starnes, Co-Owner of Coral Springs]:
"So you know some things happen, some rumors happen, and I think a little flexibility on both sides will fix all that."

But one Chinese official told reporters that there had not been any progress in negotiations so far.

He added that Starnes had not paid salaries for two months, prompting fears the plant would shutter without fairly compensating workers.