January 22, 2013
Don’t mess with workers’ bathroom breaks. That was the lesson a Japanese electronics manufacturer learned after about 1,000 workers at its Shanghai plant were so outraged about a strict new policy limiting toilet time to two minutes that they took managers hostage for over 24 hours.
Hundreds of police responded to the situation, which ended late Saturday with the release of the hostages, identified as 10 Japanese employees and eight Chinese plant managers, according to a statement by Shinmei Electric Co. Ltd. of Kawasaki, Japan.
“The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet, and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($8) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice,” a security guard identified as Feng told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”