Beijing — The largest steelworkers’ union in the world has staged a major strike on Monday in an effort to prevent China’s government from shutting down its steel industry in an attempt to stem global pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the strike began on Monday and will last until Sunday, and the action was a response to the China’s attempts to shut down the steel industry by threatening a ban on foreign investment.
The IAMA said its members had no choice but to strike, citing China’s decision to shut all trade with the United States.
“We’re protesting the closure of the steel plants, which are the main export and employment engines for the Chinese people,” said IAML President and CEO Joe Gandy.
The IAMG is not the only union organizing in the Chinese steel industry.
Last month, the union voted to strike in a separate action that saw several thousand members picketed a steel plant in Shanghai.
The labor-led protests have gained traction among Chinese steel workers, who have long seen their livelihoods devastated by the country’s industrialization policies.
The labor unrest has sparked widespread concern in China and across the world.
In recent years, China has been grappling with an explosion of steel exports, but it has also been accused of clamping down on the domestic steel sector to appease the government.
A recent report from the U.S.-based U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia found that Chinese steel production has declined by half since 2010, while imports of domestic steel have jumped from 2.3 million metric tons to 15.4 million metric tonmes.
China has also pushed to build a large new rail line to connect Beijing with other major cities, which would give it greater leverage over the domestic industry.