China Factory Resolution Reached, US Businessman Released

Created: 2013-06-28 10:33 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

A U.S. executive and his Chinese workers who held him captive for six days reached a resolution to a row about pay on Thursday.

President of Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies, Chip Starnes, was held captive by about 100 of his own workers on the outskirts of Beijing since June 21.

General Manager for Specialty Medical Supplies, Xing Shuang, says Starnes has left the factory.

[Xing Shuang, General Manager]:
"My boss Chip is exhausted after two harsh days and has gone back to a hotel.”

The workers' demands followed rumors that the entire plant was being closed after the company's plastic injection molding division moved to India to lower production costs.

After rounds of negotiations between Starnes and the workers as well as mediation efforts from the local labor administration the stand-off was resolved.

A written agreement between the two sides was signed early Thursday morning.
The six-day-old stand-off in the suburb of Huairou, not far from sections of the Great Wall, has highlighted one of the lesser known risks of doing business in China.

The level of trust between workers and managers is low and faith in the legal system is weak.

Consultants and lawyers say angry employees holding employers captive is common in China, often arising out of a mix of mistrust, mismanagement and desperation.