From the International Herald Tribune:
As a result of the global economic downturn, the province of Guangdong may set up a fund to help newly unemployed factory workers. The proposal is believed to be in response to fears about potential worker protests.
Exporters in once-booming Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, and other industrial hubs have suffered in recent years from rising labour and input costs, a stronger Chinese currency, fewer tax breaks and more stringent testing standards. Now, credit is constricting as the U.S. crisis spreads. Factories across southern China survive on a precarious diet of loans as they compete for foreign orders with wafer-thin margins.
The previous CDT article After Toy Factory Closure, Blame Game Begins addresses additional problems related to the layoffs.
In November 2007, PBS’ Newshour broadcast a story on Chinese factory working conditions that can be viewed here.