Protest against 4 Chambers of Commerce Undermine Rights to Collective Bargaining of Chinese Workers

Press Release

Protest against Four Chambers of Commerce Undermine Rights to Collective Bargaining

Condone 3.6 Billion Retirement Pension in Arrears by Hong Kong Enterprises

 

On October 28, along with other NGOs, the HKCTU protested against the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce at the United Center in Admiralty.  We protested against the Four Chambers of Commerce in condoning Hong Kong enterprises for the back pay of at least 3.6 billion RMB of retirement pension and weakening the “Guangdong Provincial Regulation on Collective Contracts for. Enterprises”.  We handed a handshake cutout cardboard to the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, meaning the four Chambers of Commerce condone the violation of labour law in the Mainland, undermine the Collective Contract Regulation, and encourage labour conflicts.

Condone Members to Break the Law

According to a survey conducted by the HKCTU, over 60% of labour actions occurred in Hong Kong-owned factories were due to social security contribution in arrears, with the majority in retirement pension.   An estimated 3.6 billion RMB of pension was owned to the migrant workers by Hong Kong enterprises.  In addition, there are also many cases of collective labour actions instigated by severance pay and wages in arrears and other violations of mainland labor legislation due to plants relocation or closure. The HKCTU previously wrote to the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce insisting on blacklisting these companies.  However,  such complaints from the trade union were largely ignored by the three leading Chambers of Commerce.  Enterprises involved in labour rights infringement includes members of the Chambers such as Unilever Group (Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce members), ARTS OPTICAL (Federation of Hong Kong Industries members), Sunway Plastic Toys (CMA members), as well as Hong Kong listed companies such as Stella holding, Pegasus International, Chow Tai Fook's suppliers, etc. (see the appendix of HKCTU’s “Investigative Report on Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises in China 2014-2015”http://en.hkctu.org.hk/assets/publications/20150831_Labour_Rights_Violation_Report_Eng.pdf )

Undermines The Collective Bargaining Ordinance, Intensifies Labour Disputes

Guangdong provincial government first promoted Collective Bargaining Ordinance with the aim to resolve labour disputes and reduce the incidence of strikes by means of collective bargaining. However, Hong Kong businesses, mainly led by the Chamber of Commerce, expended their political relations to ultimately forced the binding regulations to be removed from Collective Bargaining Ordinance.  These actions include lobbying the Vice President of the Standing Committee of the Provincial People's Congress, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Guangdong Province, Huang Yebin, to postpone the passing of the legislation.  Moreover, many board members from the Chambers were also members of NPC and CPPCC in various levels (such as Martin Liao, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, is a NPC member, Sze Iron, the Honorary President of Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong is a CPPCC members, Stantley Lau, Director of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries is a Standing Committee of the Sichuan Province CPPCC, etc.) who had direct impact on policy making.  Thus, all penalties were ultimately removed from the Ordinance if companies refuse to negotiate with the workers.  In the absence of any costs of premise, it is difficult to effectively force companies to negotiate difficult with the workers.

 

The HKCTU demands the Four Chambers of Commerce to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities:
1. To blacklist enterprises that are in serious violations of labor legislation and cancel their membership;
2. Respect the right to collective bargaining of Chinese workers and educate members to do so.

 

Further reading

“Investigative Report on Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises in China 2014-2015”

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