Position and Analysis
Automobile workers’ collective actions and development of grassroots unions: a case study of ST Auto Parts Factory
ST Auto Parts Factory (hereafter: ST Factory) is jointly-owned by Japanese and Taiwanese investors and is one of the very few Chinese factories where direct elections of its enterprise union have successfully been conducted. ST Factory employs 536 workers, producing auto springs and shake absorbers for Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Since 2010, two strikes have broken out in ST Factory, with workers demanding to increase their wages and receive their annual bonuses.
70% rise of industrial actions in Hong Kong invested enterprises in China Missing social security insurance and severance compensation as major causes
“Missing social security funds initiating a new wave of labour movement: Violent suppression intensified” is the theme of the “Investigative Report on Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises in China 2014-2015”. On 11 August 2015, the HKCTU released this report, exposing the common labour violations of Hong Kong suppliers in China, which produce for internationally known brands, such as Marks & Spencer, Disney, UNIQLO and etc.
Why is being a “rights lawyer” a high-risk job?
Between 9 and 20 July 2015 alone, at least 235 lawyers in China were taken away by the police from their homes or offices. This wave of detention led to an international outcry and some 200 Chinese lawyers and citizens started a joint petition. They demanded that some one hundred policemen be held accountable for criminal offences such as “abuse of power, neglect of duty, defamation, disciplinary violations”.
UNIQLO’s neglect of its supplier’s labour exploitation
In recent years, Lever Style Inc., the Hong Kong-based parent company of Artigas Clothing & Leatherwear Factory and its Japanese buyer UNIQLO have been enjoying a rapid rise in their turnover. Their workers, who have been treated as disposable and have been left with nothing, have not benefit from this prosperity however. During the process of factory relocation and merger, senior workers at Artigas, who had worked for decades at the factory and made garments for UNIQLO and other brands, were told that they would not be entitled to pension and severance compensation.
Unions from Asian countries show support to independent union movement in China and Hong Kong
The HKCTU attended the International Trade Union Confederation’s Asia Pacific (hereafter: ITUC-AP) Regional General Council and proposed a resolution on China. The resolution urged the international unions to support Chinese workers’ struggles in improving labour conditions and trade union rights, to demand the Chinese Government release detained labour activists immediately and to genuinely implement all core labour standards as stated in the ILO conventions.
Global campaign to support Chinese workers’ freedom of association and fight against violence
On the eve of the anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre, the HKCTU launched a series of campaigns calling on the Chinese Government to release detained labour activists and stop brutally repressing workers who are defending their rights.
How many Li Wangyangs are there in the prisons of China?
The theme of this special edition issue is the struggles of the labour movement under authoritarian regimes. In Hong Kong, we have been trying to gain the support of the larger society to demand the immediate release of all imprisoned labour activists in China. We also demand that the Chinese government stop the violent repression and arbitrary detention of workers who are fighting to safeguard their rights.
The Labour Movement and Dictatorial Regimes Can Never Coexist
According to the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, “the working class and the proletariat” were in charge in socialist societies.But in reality, the communist regimes had hijacked “democracy” in the name of the “People’s Republic”. After they had seized power, the leaders of the communist parties completely forgot their goal of liberating the oppressed.
Growing labour conflicts: more strikes due to Hong Kong enterprises’ labour violations
In the second year since the establishment of its database to monitor Hong Kong-owned enterprises’ conduct in China, the HKCTU collected documents and reports from media, social media and other labour organizations on various collective labour actions that took place between May 2014 and April 2015. At least 25 media reported cases of workers’ collective rights-defending actions involving Hong Kong capital (a 40% growth compared with the previous year, between May 2013 and April 2014) are identified.
Feminist activists detained ahead of International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day, activists from both China and Hong Kong organized campaign programmes to fight against sexual harassment. The Women’s Committee of the HKCTU hosted a press conference and taught self-defence on the streets. However, five feminist activists in China, Wang Man, Li Tingting, Wei Tingting, Wu Rongrong and Zheng Churan, were detained by the Chinese police and sent to a detention centre in Beijing on the Eve of International Women’s Day.