Workers at three Coca-Cola plants called co-ordinated strikes on Monday, with pictures posted online appearing to show workers outside a factory in Chongqing with a banner that read: “We worked hard for over a decade but were sold in less than a second. Compensate! Compensate! Compensate!”
Another proclaimed: “Give back my youth, compensate my time.”
Simultaneous strikes took place in Chengdu, also in the south-west, and Jilin province in the north-east.
One worker said more than 600 staff went on strike in Chengdu.
The Coca-Cola bottling plant workers feared they would lose their jobs or pay under the state-owned employer, said one striking employee.
“We are demanding the company disclose details of the refranchising and plans during the transitional period,” he said.
“We request the company give workers economic compensation before they decide to sign the contract with Cofco.”
Separately, workers at a Sony factory in the southern city of Guangzhou downed tools in protest at the sale of the Sony Electronics Huanan subsidiary, which managed the site, to a Chinese company.
Production at the smartphone camera parts facility, which employs 4,000 people, was halted for two weeks after Sony announced it had been sold to Shenzhen O-Film Tech.
Protesters fear working conditions and pay could suffer and are also concerned about possible job cuts.
“I have been working for the Japanese group for 10 years, with a good level of salary and allowances,” said Liu, an employee on strike. All that could now change under ownership of the Chinese firm, she said.
“Everyone knows that in its factories wages are mediocre, there are many layoffs, and it imposes unpaid overtime,” Liu said.
Labour protests have erupted in China with economic growth slowing and factory closures often leaving workers with unpaid wages and no redundancy pay.
Hong Kong-based rights group China Labour Bulletin (CLB) said there were 2,774 strikes and labour protests across the country in 2015 – more than the previous four years put together – with unpaid wages the most common grievance.
Independent trade unions are banned in China, with only the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions legally recognised. But critics say it often fails to assist workers in disputes.
Officials pay close attention to unrest that could upset social stability, which the ruling Communist party seeks to maintain.
According to posts on social media, police clashed with strikers at the Chongqing factory, with video showing police pushing a cluster of workers in red uniforms and officers photographed subduing a struggling man.
Police officials in Chongqing said they had no information on such incidents when contacted by AFP.
Similar strikes broke out in 2011 when workers at five Pepsi bottling plants across China protested after the US beverage giant sold its plants in the country to a Japanese-Taiwanese venture.