Position and Analysis
One Year Anniversary of the Yue Yuen Workers’ Strike: Conditions and Voices of Workers
April 14, 2015 was the one-year anniversary of the mass strike by the workers at Yue Yuen,a footwear manufacturer. On April 14, 2014, all 50,000 workers from the Yue Yuen factories went on strike to demand that the management make up for the shortage in its contributions to their social insurance, which it had failed to pay in full. At the beginning, there were only 1,000 workers.
HKCTU June 4th Declaration on 2015
Under the one-party dictatorship, workers in China are still deprived of the three labour rights: freedom of association, the right to strike, and the right to collective bargaining. Their struggles for labour rights often lead to oppression from government officials and employers. Meanwhile, due to the undemocratic political system and collusion between government and enterprises, workers in Hong Kong are similarly deprived of standard working hours and the right to collective bargaining.
Labour Day Declaration on Ending Violence against Labour Activists
Since 2012, the Mainland labour NGOs has been politically oppressed by forcing them to move out from their offices. However, the oppression has been escalating to detaining and seriously assaulting labour NGOs’ staff by police recently. HKCTU is going to publish a Labour Day Declaration on ending violence against labour activists and calling for your support to condemn the abuse of police power against labour activists in China.
The crackdown on the labor movement escalates
On Dec 10th, 2014, nearly a thousand workers from the Artigas Clothing & Leatherwear Co. Ltd. in Longhua District, Shenzhen went on strike twice to protest the company’s non-payment of social security and housing provident fund. Artigas is the supplier of Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo, and Hong Kong brand G2000.
Violent assaults, lawful dismantling
In recent years, there have been repeated attacks of various forms on labour organizations, their organizers and workers. Since 2012, many organizations have found it difficult to operate, living under threats of violent assault. The office of Little Grass Workers’ Home in Shenzhen was violently vandalized by thugs and the organization was forced to relocate again and again. Jin Shichang of the Migrant Workers’ Centre in Zhongshan was beaten up by security guards paid by employers, and was forced to leave Guangdong.
The impact of the Umbrella Movement on the labour movement in China and Hong Kong
Between 28 September and 15 December 2014, the largest civil disobedience campaign in the history of Hong Kong took place in the form of an urban occupation, and drew global attention. Also known as the Umbrella Movement, this 79-day occupation set out to demand genuine universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017, and abolition of the functional constituency seats in the Legislative Council (hereafter: Legco).
HKCTU action update
Some 30 members of HKCTU and several labour organizations protested on the morning of 18 July 2014 at the Asia-Pacific merchandising department of Marks & Spencer (hereafter M&S), a major British multinational retailer. The protest was triggered by a suicide the previous morning (17 July 2014), when Zhou Jianrong, 50, jumped from a height after being dismissed by Grosby Footwear (Shenzhen) Ltd., a major supplier of M&S, for her participation in a strike. It is believed that Ms Zhou's death was caused by the unjust dismissal.
Betrayed by a state-owned enterprise
On 29 June 2014, at its shareholders' general meeting in Hong Kong, one ex-employee, Zhang Hong, asked China Construction Bank's chairman, Wang Hongzhang, “why did the bank unlawfully retrench and buy-out its workers?” Nobody answered this question at the meeting, which lasted for only a dozen of minutes. When Wang stepped out of the meeting room, a group of former employees surrounded him, demanding him to explain why he put “retrenched employees” in a sub-meeting and what right he had to deprive former employees, who were also shareholders, the right to attend the main meeting.
Worker Wu Guijun won his appeal and received compensation for wrongful detention
In early May 2013, Shenzhen Diweixin Product Factory relocated its plant without paying financial compensation to workers, as required by law. Subsequently, a strike lasting for more than two months broke out and one of the workers' representatives, Wu Guijun, was detained at a protest. After months of detention, he was then charged with “gathering crowds to disrupt traffic order”. Without any conviction, he was detained for over one year.
Who stole Shenzhen workers’ pension?
In April 2014, 48,000 workers launched a strike at Yue Yuen Shoe Factory, located in Dongguan City, over underpayment of the social security premium. It was the largest strike in China in recent years. Migrant workers were first entitled to participate in Shenzhen City’s pension insurance (one component of social security) 27 years ago (in 1987) and the Social Insurance Law requires enterprises to pay premiums according to workers’ actual wages.