Chinese workers perform Gangnam Style to demand unpaid wages

HRM 25 Jan 2013

A group of construction workers in Wuhan launched an unusual type of protest against unpaid wages by performing a Gangnam Style dance outside the nightclub that they had built.

Doing the viral dance was “...the only way to draw attention to their problems,” they were quoted as saying in The Guardian.

Younger workers are more media-savvy and know that they are more likely to succeed if they turned to such forms of publicity, said Geoff Crothall of the Hong-Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, in the report.

Workers who protest normally turn to Chinese microblogging site Weibo and make sure people are aware of the fact they are going to do this performance and get the local media on board,” Crothwall was quoted as saying in the report.

Unpaid labour is a common and growing occurrence in the construction industry, Crothall elaborated in the article. A single lump sum payment of a year’s wages is given only at the end of the year. The wages have to pass through layers of subcontractors before it even reaches them, if any at all.

In some cases, bosses run away due to financial problems and leave workers with zero pay, the article said. 

Leave your comment
Start a new discussion

HRM Asia forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Post a Comment
HRM Asia welcomes your contribution. Your IP address is recorded in the event of a complaint.
Name *
Email *
(required, but will not display)
Comment *
Please enter in the numbers in the box left.
You are about to submit your comment. Is it:
  • Professional
  • In your own name or pseudonym, not impersonating someone else
  • Free from rude language
  • Free from advertising
  • If you prefer not to post but are still keen to get your viewpoint across, you can always e-mail the editor.
  • 20 Sep | Michael Page International | Singapore
    19 Sep | Michael Page International | Singapore
    Gamification and story-telling at Sabre Holdings
    Joyita Poddar, HR Director, APAC, Sabre Holdings, elaborates on how firms should sell the success stories of their own employees through different platforms
    TTSH: HR leading the health drive
    The business case for WSH
    Itron: A five-prong guideline to employee retention
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd |
    Lunch, Learn and Bond with your teams, all within 1 hour! Choose from a variety of light-hearted, interesting or thought-provoking topics that appeal ...
    Performance Recognition Pte Ltd |
    A monthly business incubator where leaders grow their skills, exchange ideas and share best practices.
    Organisational Development Concepts |
    Public speaking is a set of skills not a talent. You can be a good presenter if you learn the skills for presentation success.