Workers at a Chinese factory making Covid-19 test kits clashed with police over the weekend after their managers apparently told them to go on vacation early, a move that effectively terminated their employment without notice, according to social media posts and videos reviewed by CNN.
Online footage showed workers protesting at a facility belonging to Zybio Inc, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, in the mega city of Chongqing in the country’s southwest.
Social media users said the workers, who produced rapid antigen test kits, had either been unpaid or not paid the full amount promised by Zybio. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. CNN could not immediately independently verify the claims.
Videos of the protests at the facility in Chongqing’s Dadukou district were censored on Chinese social media on Monday.
One clip posted on Twitter on Sunday appeared to show a standoff between police and workers, who were seen shouting: “Give back my money!” In another, angry workers were seen throwing objects at police.
A third video showed laborers protesting from the factory floor, hurling boxes — containing what online social media posts say were antigen test kits — to express their anger.
There has been a marked decrease in demand for rapid testing kits after China abruptly abandoned its zero-Covid policy in early December and started to open up after nearly three years of isolation.
Starting this week, China no longer requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival, lifting a major restriction that had largely kept its borders shut during the pandemic. The U-turn came after nationwide protests erupted in November over the economic and social toll of the restrictions, which had included mass lockdowns.