Summary:

Lenovo insists it will give Chinese IBM server factory workers a fair deal when they transition over as part of the $2.3 billion sale of IBM’s x86 server business, but until then it’s not Lenovo’s concern.

More than 1,000 workers went on strike last week at an IBM server factory in southern China, demanding better wages (or decent severance) as IBM’s x86 server business gets sold to Lenovo. That strike is still ongoing, but Lenovo does not consider this to be its problem.

In a statement on Monday, Lenovo pointed out that it hasn’t taken over the relevant business yet — regulatory hurdles still stand in the way — and therefore “the strike at the IBM server factory in Shenzhen is the internal matter for IBM.”

“To ensure a smooth transition Lenovo is committed to provide opportunity for all employees from IBM’s x86 server department who transfer to Lenovo, without any reduction of their wages and benefits,” the Chinese manufacturer insisted.

However, the five-day-long strike continues. Per Reuters’ analysis, this is partly the result of a growing labor shortage in China, which is “emboldening” workers to stand up for their rights — and no doubt spurring on manufacturing outfits like Foxconn to cozy up to Google for its nascent factory-automating robotics efforts.

Workers at a nearby Nokia plant also put down their tools last November, in protest at the terms of the sale of Nokia’s handset business to Microsoft.

IBM itself isn’t budging. According to a Tuesday report in the Shanghai Daily, the company has fired 20 of the protestors for “disobeying company orders, absence without leave and gathering together during work times.”

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