More than 1,000 ex-bank workers gathered in Beijing on Monday to protest before the capital’s main petition office. The workers had been employed in various state-owned banks until China’s large restructuring about 10 years ago left many without jobs or compensation. Organizers estimated the protester-crowd to number as many as 3,000 middle-aged men and women.
China’s massive financial restructuring project has left nearly half a million people unemployed, as the New York Times reports:
It is not the first time the former bank tellers, accountants and branch managers have sought to publicize their grievances, which stem from a restructuring of China’s four largest banks as they prepared to go public, forcing out about 400,000 people during the decade-long purge. Many of those fired were over 40, and some were nearing retirement.
Analysts, citing bloated work forces, say the downsizing was a necessary component of a modernization effort that transformed the country’s socialist-era banking sector. […]
News of soaring profits have only angered those who were let go during the streamlining drive. Many say they were offered paltry compensation; those who refused the packages were fired anyway.
“We’re just asking for fairness, seeking to regain our former jobs or receive compensation,” said Zhang Guoxi, one of the protest organizers and a former ICBC employee.
If the recent past is any indication, bringing your grievances to the national petition bureau isn’t the most efficient way to be heard. That’s what The White House, airport bombs, and sex dolls are for.