BEIJING -- A pay dispute was resolved Thursday at a medical supply factory, ending a standoff in which the Chinese workers detained their American boss for nearly a week inside the plant until they reached agreement on a compensation package.
Chip Starnes, a co-owner of Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies, said he had been forced to give in to what he called unjustified demands while he was held by about 80 workers inside the factory, an experience he described as "humiliating, embarrassing."
The workers began blocking all exits from the plant in Huairou district on the outskirts of Beijing on June 21 after seeing equipment being packed for shipment to India and thinking the entire factory was being shut down. They said the company owed them unpaid salary.
Police had made no moves to end the standoff but guarded the plant and said they were guaranteeing Starnes' safety.
Starnes, who had spoken to reporters in recent days through the barred window of his factory office, said the workers' demands were unjustified. Neither he nor district labor official Chu Lixiang gave details of the compensation deal.
Chu said all the workers would be terminated, although Starnes said some would be rehired later.
"It has been resolved to each side's satisfaction," Chu told reporters at the plant. She said they had been sorting out paperwork until 5 a.m. and that 97 workers had signed settlement agreements.
Starnes has said the company had been winding down its plastics division, with plans to move it to Mumbai, India. When he arrived in Beijing last week to lay off the last 30 people, workers in other divisions started demanding similar severance packages.-- AP