Labour News

Petition to support the 19 workers who are unlawfully dismissed by IBM

11

Mar 2014

The petition letter below was drafted by IBM workers for supporting the 19 workers who are unlawfully dismissed by IBM

 

We, as legitimate citizens and honest workers of the People’s Republic of China, we firmly believe that the right to organize, to bargain, and to strike are being guaranteed by the Constitution, Trade Union Law, and ratified International Human Rights Convention which cannot be deprived in labour conflicts.  It is in every worker’s wish to establish mutual benefit and development with the company, while such aspiration is also shared among the workers in IBM System Integration (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.  We learned that on March 3rd, 2014, Lenovo has completed the acquisition of the x86 server business from IBM System Integration (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.  However, compensation scheme was arbitrarily imposed on the workers from IBM without attaining consent by means of full consultation from the staff or staff representatives; eventually leading to a strike from the workers to fight for their rights.  Throughout the entire strike, the workers adhere to rational and restraint measures in their actions by seeking proper channels to express their demands through the government and mass media.  Meanwhile, as the workers had always been willing to establish channels of negotiation with the employer, no aggressive behavior was taken all along.  Thus, the allegations in violating the law and labour discipline are totally unfounded.  However, the employer had always shunned from workers’ request to negotiate.  Instead, IBM attempted to interrupt the strike, threatened to terminate employment and sent SMS threats to workers and their family.

Although the compensation scheme proposed by IBM did not violate the Labour Contract Law, it merely reached the minimum requirements.  The offer might have ensured the workers’ basic survival, but it denies workers from dignity and decency.  Moreover, IBM did not acknowledge workers’ contribution to the development and growth of the company.  As much as the USD 2.3 billion deal is inseparable from the hard work by the workers over the years, a compensation scheme merely reaching the minimum requirements can hardly be justified.  A responsible enterprise cannot just dispatch her workers like dismissing beggars who are begging for food.  In view of this, we believe the decision to dismiss 19 workers and their representatives by IBM on March 10th lacks careful consideration and may have violated the law.  As citizens and workers, we hope IBM can abide to the Law of China, reemploy all workers who are illegally dismissed and initial negotiation with the workers in a candid and responsible manner.

 

Please send your petition to this mailbox in this order

NAME+OCCUPATION+RESIDENCY: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

6000 shoe workers strike over compensation in Shenzhen

10

Mar 2014

Hundreds of riot police disperse defendants

Original Chinese report from Boxun News: http://boxun.com/news/gb/china/2014/03/201403102207.shtml#.UyGDoPmSxtE

 

Six thousand workers at Cichang manufacturing zone, Ciyu Shoe Factory in Longgang district, Shenzhen protested against wage cuts, unfair overtime payment and no compensation for changing brands on Monday.

“Chen Xianqian” posted on weibo (microblog) that, “Ciyu Shoe Factory workers are going on strike. First, while the government has increased the minimum wage, the unscrupulous employer greatly reduced our salaries from CNY 4500 to around CNY 2500. The plunge was attributed to the fall in piece rate. Workers had no or very low bonus. Second, 1-hour overtime at night was not paid. This is a violation of the Labour Law of China. Third, the former employer sold the factory to another businessman. The factory now produces for other brands. Yet, Cichang is still controlling the production covertly.”

At 7:30am, workers demanded for severance and blocked the road outside the factory to stop vehicles from going in or out. The local authorities deployed hundreds of riot police to site. Until 11:00am, police dispersed the strikers. Numerous workers were beaten and arrested.

“Bingxin” and other weibo users released considerable number of photos of the strike and the crackdown. Some workers reported that the company entered into dialogue with them in the afternoon.

Ciyu Shoe Factory is a sports shoe and flip flop supplier to Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Converse, K-Swiss, Brooks and other international brands. The company has two manufacturing zones, Ciyu (FT) and Cichang (FTN), hire more than 10,000 workers

 

Network Images:

Investigation on IBM Strike: Management Arranged Sham Negotiation

10

Mar 2014

 

Hundreds of IBM workers continued to gather outside the International System Technology Company factory (hereinafter referred to as IBM STC) in Shenzhen last Saturday. Workers assembled peacefully. They sat in small groups and chatted with each other. The guards who watched the workers broadcast an announcement through a megaphone which urged the workers to resume their duties, otherwise penalty would be imposed accordingly. 

On their sixth day of strike since 3 March, the industrial action has not disrupt the production order of the factory. On the factory wall, a slogan “Down with IBM’s hegemonic regulations! Give me back my youth!” was written. While hundreds of regular workers lying on lawn outside the factory during the strike, 500 temporary workers continued to work in the factory.

One of the strike organizers, Mr. Ding, told Tencent Technology the reasons of the action. When IBM sold the factory to Lenovo, it refused to consult the workers. Most of the workers were anxious about their future and perceived there would be massive dismissal.

Workers expressed that their views were not respected. In addition, when some workers requested to verify if the employment terms would remain unchanged and whether the working hours would be increased. No response was given

 

Workers questioned the unilateral terms by the factory

A few workers complained that IBM STC did not negotiate the settlement with employees in the run-up to the transferal of factory ownership. The employer asked the workers to choose one of the options.  

It is reported that the selling of IBM STC would be part of Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM x86 sever business.  Therefore, no matter workers chose to transfer their year of service to Lenovo factory or collect their severance payment before joining Lenovo, they would be Lenovo employees. Meanwhile, IBM promised that the employment terms after the acquisition remain unchanged. 

Mr. Luo who has worked in materials department of x86 server service for 4 years told Tencent that there were three issues that workers called into question: First, worker representatives were excluded from the decision making process. Second, workers could only choose from the two options and could not transfer to other IBM factories. Third, no details were given on “terms remained unchanged”.   

In addition, a technician surnamed Fang told Tencent that he worried about while the wages unchanged, the working hours would be extended.

In fact, these were the available options after 7 March. Prior to 7 March, the company also offered another option, i.e. workers could receive CNY 6000 on the top of severance payment if they resigned. Only handful of workers took that option. Mr. Ding said most of those workers have worked in the factory for less than a year.

 

Factory executives disguised as workers in the negotiations

During the investigation, the management of IBM STC did not accept Tencent’s interview request. According to the employees, when the acquisition was announced, the vice general manager Eve told the employees there would be settlement plans. And the settlement options would be conveyed to the employees in batches on 3 March.

Most employees stated that they did not know who Eve was. And they have never communicated with her. “We did not know about her mandate. She did not work in the factory. She would come only if there is meeting,” a worker said. Since then, the management has not enter into dialogued with workers.

The strikers regretted the top-down approach of the company. They hoped to have direct communication with the company’s legal representative. Nevertheless, the top management of the IBM STC did not show their credentials, and the legal representative did not come to meet with workers.

The tension between employer and employee was intensified after the management’s unilateral announcement. This triggered workers to go on strike.

Soon after the strike erupted, IBM STC accepted workers’ request for negotiation on 3 March afternoon. At the same time, IBM STC sent text messages to employees and their families stating that strike constituted work stoppage, and the company might impose penalty, including dismissal, on workers concerend.

Furthermore, workers said the company intimidated them and disrupted the strike by installing surveillance cameras, hiring thugs, removing chairs, cutting off power and drinking water, and so on.

The negotiation was finally arranged on March 7. Only until 5:30pm, after most of the strikers left, the management arranged a consultation next to a basketball field inside the factory compound. Those who participated in the negotiation were not the strikers, but people disguised as workers. During the consultation, security guards were patrolling around the basketball court, barring strikers from participating in it.

The bogus negotiation was orchestrated by the management. A worker, surnamed Feng, sent the video of the consultation to Tencent.

 

The original Chinese version of this article was found from ilabour.org (http://www.ilabour.org/Item/Show.asp?m=1&d=2816#rd)

 

IBM factory strike shows shifting China labor landscape

09

Mar 2014

IBM workers shout slogans as they protest at an IBM factory in Shenzhen (Source: Alex Lee, Reuters; March 7, 2014)

 

John Ruwitch 

Post from Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-09/marketplace/sns-rt-us-china-strikes-20140308_1_geoffrey-crothall-labor-shortage-dongguan

 

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A wildcat strike at an IBM factory in southern China illustrates how tectonic shifts under way in the country's labor market are emboldening workers to take matters into their own hands, raising risks for multinationals.

More than 1,000 workers walked off the job last week at the factory in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, after managers on March 3 announced the terms of their transfer to new ownership under Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd.

Lenovo agreed in January to pay $2.3 billion for International Business Machine's low-end server business.

The strike, which continued into Sunday, fits a growing pattern of industrial activism that has emerged as China's economy has slowed. A worsening labor shortage has shifted the balance of power in labor relations, while smartphones and social media have helped workers organize and made them more aware than ever of the changing environment, experts say.

"Chinese workers, after being exploited for so long, are now more and more aware of their rights and united. They have more of an idea of collective action," said labor lawyer Duan Yi.

A report by the advocacy group China Labour Bulletin last month said it had talled 1,171 strikes and protests from the beginning of June 2011 to the end of December 2013.

Many worker protests during that time in Guangdong province, a manufacturing hub where the IBM server factory is situated, were sparked by the closure, merger or relocation of factories.

In November, hundreds of employees stopped work at a Nokia factory in Dongguan, near Shenzhen, complaining of changes following Nokia's sale of its mobile phone business to U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp.

Lawyer Duan is seeking arbitration for a group of 70 Nokia workers who were laid off at the time.

Last August, 5,000 workers in eastern Shandong Province went on strike to protest Apollo Tyres Ltd's proposed $2.5 billion acquisition of U.S.-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The deal was eventually scuttled and Cooper reported this month that the work stoppage in China had cut operating profit by $29 million in the third quarter.

The labor shortage has pushed up wages, impelled employers to cast a wide net to find employees and enhance benefits to retain staff. Workers have gained leverage.

"Workers know they have greater power," said Geoffrey Crothall, a China labor expert with China Labour Bulletin.

IBM said last week the terms offered to the workers at the International System Technology Company factory in Shenzhen were "comparable in aggregate to what they currently are receiving" and severance packages would be "equitable".

Lenovo has declined to comment.

 

Technology Uniting Workers

Technology has helped China's workers.

When the Nokia factory employees took to the street, they organized through the online chat system QQ and other social media, one worker told Reuters by telephone from Dongguan.

In the IBM case, the workers had all read about prior strikes, including Nokia's, and suspected ahead of time that they might have to make a similar stand, said a 28-year-old worker surnamed Chen who has worked there for three years.

"We were basically prepared and expected in advance there wouldn't be a good deal," he said by telephone from Shenzhen. He declined to allow his full name to be published out of concern he might face repercussions.

In both cases - and many others, experts say - the impetus for a strike was underpinned by the fact that the factory branch of the state-backed union was seen as a farce.

Independent unions are banned in China. The state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions and its affiliates have a reputation for being ineffectual and often siding with management.

"Because there's no real channel of communication at these workplaces just about the only thing the workers can do is go out on strike and demand that management address their grievances," Crothall said.

"In most cases the union plays no positive role and sometimes it's even a negative role," he said.

Chen, a striking IBM factory worker, had stronger words.

"The union exists in name only. It's useless," he said.

 

(Additional reporting by James Pomfret in Hong Kong; Editing by Michael Perry)

Chinese IBM workers erupt in protests over layoffs, Lenovo deal

04

Mar 2014

Rick Smith

Post from WRAL TechWire: http://wraltechwire.com/chinese-ibm-workers-erupt-in-protests-over-layoffs-lenovo-deal/13448578/

 

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. —Thousands of IBM workers in China - some carrying banners describing IBM as a "Sweat Shop" and "We are not merchandise" and many wearing blue lab coats - launched protests Monday that continued Tuesday in reaction to layoffs and the sale of IBM's low-end server business to Lenovo.

Unlike at the Research Triangle Park complex where layoffs spark little if any public protest, including layoffs that started last week, the IBM facility in Shenzhen City was blocked with hundreds of protesters gathered at the entrance.

Shenzhen is a major city in southern China located near Hong Kong. IBM operates an x86 server facility there. The x86 server group is being sold to Lenovo for some $2.3 billion, pending government approval. Lenovo, which is largely based in China, operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville.

IBM's x86 server business is based in the Triangle.

A fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese and a native of China reviewed two protest videos and translated for WRAL TechWire.

Many people carried signs and banners while at one time they also sang the Chinese national anthem.

 

Slogans on the banners included:

"Sweat Shop"

"We are not merchandise; we have dignity; and we have human rights"

"Give me back my youth! Change the labor terms"

 

In another video, workers were shouting "Bad Guys" in Chinese.

A local news site as translated for WRAL TechWire from Cantonese claimed that:

The layoff was due to selling IBM x86 unit to Lenovo

Many workers were given $6,000 yuan (less than$1,000 USD) to leave by March 12 Pregnant women were treated poorly in the factory. Many were working 15 hours (8AM-11PM) daily for a long time. These workers are feeling that they are not treated as human by IBM, and are asking IBM to compensate their health before dumping them.

 

Local Government Offers Help

Workers in one video were told to unit and to "send a representative to the negotiation table."

The woman speaking was a representative from the city, telling the workers on strike that City is speaking to IBM and trying to hold a three-way negotiation," the translator said. "She is asking workers to elect  [and] send representatives."

Some workers also could be overheard saying that the protesters should calm down and not riot.

"Kicking up a fuss will not help," the translator quoted them as saying. Instead they should "unite and organize."

Chinese news site NTDTV also carried coverage of the strike.

The reviewer of that website for WRAL TechWire noted that many of the IBM workers involved had worked more than 10 years at the company. They said they were being fired "without appropriate compensation."

IBM's severance packages were described as "imparity clauses."

The workers also demanded that IBM compensate them "according to China's labor law."

A Google translation of the NTDTV headline reads:

"IBM big strike to protest layoffs of thousands of people in Shenzhen unfair compensation."

The accompanying story is based on reporting by the Reuters news service.

 

(Video about the IBM Chinese workers' strike on 4 Mar 2014: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjgwNjEzNjg0.html)

 

7,500 Workers Involved in x86 Deal

In the x86 sale announced in January, Lenovo and IBM said some 7,500 workers in the x86 business would be transferred to Lenovo.

Lee Conrad, the national coordinator of the union Alliance@IBM which is seeking to unionize IBMers in the U.S., said American workers should follow the example of the Chinese protestors.

"We need to replicate what IBM workers in China are doing," Conrad said. "For too long IBM workers in the US have just accepted what executive management dished out. Time to say no more.”

Alliance@IBM has begun to receive comments from disgruntled Chinese IBMers "only recently," according to Conrad. "There appears to be some serious labor issues as this strike illustrates," he said.

Of those, some 2,000 are based in Research triangle Park.

IBM launched a global "rebalancing" of its work force on Feb. 12, having said in January that it would spend $1 billion to cover the costs of layoffs and other associated expenses. Layoffs began hitting in the U.S. last week.

The company will not disclose how many people are being cut as part of what IBM calls a "resource action."

IBM employs an estimated 9,500 people across North Carolina.

 

IBM Defends Layoffs

In a statement last week, IBM confirmed the layoffs and defended the need for them.

“IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to pioneer new, high- value segments of the IT industry,” the company said.

The full statement from IBM spokesperson Doub Shelton follows:

"As reported in our recent earnings briefing, IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry. To that end, IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive Computing and investing in these priority areas. For example, already this year we have committed $1 billion to our new Watson unit and $1.2 billion to expand our Cloud footprint around the world. In addition, just this week IBM announced a $1 billion investment in platform-as-a-service Cloud capabilities, as well as investments in areas such as nanotechnology which will bring hundreds of new jobs to New York State. This also creates new job opportunities at IBM. At any given time, IBM has more than 3,000 job openings in these and other growth areas in the US.

"IBM’s total workforce has remained stable over the past three years, and IBM now employs more than 400,000 people worldwide."

 

 

Wu Guijun trial tests China’s tolerance of workers’ strike

21

Feb 2014

Tom Mitchell 

Post from Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e873abbe-99d3-11e3-91cd-00144feab7de.html#axzz2uD5iIN00

 

Chinese paramilitary police block access to the residence of a construction firm boss after a group of up to 50 migrant workers stormed past security at the Qijiayuan Diplomatic Compound to protest against what they claim is an unpaid new year bonus, in Beijing on January 14 2013.

If Wu Guijun is sentenced to five years in a Chinese prison, it will be in part because he allegedly led workers in chanting: "Long live the Communist party" and singing "Socialism is good", a patriotic anthem.

The irony will be of little comfort to Mr Wu, 41, who stands accused of "gathering a crowd and disrupting public order" during a labour protest in southern Guangdong province in May last year.

In a court hearing on Monday, attended by the Financial Times, the prosecution said his chanting and singing proved that he had organised a march by more than 200 workers to a district government office.

"We did not organise any drastic actions," Mr Wu told the court. "Our role was to act as a bridge between the workers and government departments."

Public order offences, which can lead to a maximum five-year prison sentence in China, have been routinely used by the authorities in a long-running crackdown on legal activists such as Xu Zhiyong, who was convicted in January in one of China's highest profile political trial since 2009.

But concerns are growing that the increasing use of these charges in political cases is also being seen in the labour arena.

Some fear the prosecution of Mr Wu in Shenzhen, the manufacturing centre bordering Hong Kong, could mark the end of a period of relative tolerance enjoyed by China's worker movement, which erupted four years ago with a series of industrial actions at Japanese-invested car and auto parts factories.

"No one [in China] knows when they step across the line and it becomes a criminal case," said Monina Wong of the International Trade Union Confederation. "That's why this case is so important. It shows where the line is."

Mr. Wu and his colleagues wanted government help in securing compensation after their furniture factory boss announced plans to move his operation to a cheaper location inland, a common occurrence since the global financial crisis. The march on May 23 last year allegedly disrupted traffic.

In addition to Mr. Wu's case, 12 security guards at a government hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital, were tried in January on public order charges for a protest they staged in August. The verdict is still pending in that case, which is also unusual for the number of defendants involved.

China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based worker rights group, has documented some 1,200 Chinese strikes since the summer of 2011. "There was a noticeable increase in police interventions in the second half of 2013," CLB said in its latest annual report on China's worker movement, released on Thursday.

"Local governments are now taking a tougher stance against worker protests." In the second half of 2013, CLB tracked 78 incidents of police involvement in strikes, of which 32 resulted in arrests but not necessarily formal prosecutions.

Mr. Wu, elected as one of eight "worker representatives" during the factory dispute, denied organising the march, saying it happened more or less spontaneously. According to his former co-workers, the factory did not have a union.

Under China's 2008 labour law companies are required to permit the establishment of chapters affiliated with the state-sanctioned All China Federation of Trade Unions.

"Wu Guijun read books on the labour law and helped us fight for compensation," said Gong Shengkun, one of four factory workers who will testify on Mr Wu's behalf.

Mr Wu, a slight man with thick glasses, nodded and raised his cuffed hands in a quick greeting to Mr Gong and the three other witnesses as police officers marched him into court on Monday. Like Mr Wu's family, who were also in attendance, they have not seen their elected representative since he was detained. Though technically innocent until proven guilty, Mr Wu sported a prison haircut and uniform.

“The boss was adamant and initially said there would be no compensation for moving the factory," said Li Chunyun, a legal assistant who advised the workers. "He said it was non-negotiable." The factory owner could not be reached for comment.

Government officials later brokered a "compromise" settlement under which Mr. Wu's colleagues were asked to accept just 20 per cent of the compensation they were legally entitled to, according to Duan Yi, a lawyer defending both Mr Wu and the hospital security guards in Guangzhou.

 "The government isn't adapting to the worker movement, which is a natural response to the development of China's market economy," Mr. Duan said. "Government officials only want workers to listen to them."

"I know government officials too well," he added. "They say all the right things on television, but they say one thing and do another. They simply like factory bosses more than they do workers. The bosses give them red envelopes [cash gifts]."

The district government officials involved in Mr Wu's factory dispute could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Wu's trial is scheduled to resume next week.

 

Additional reporting Wan Li in Shenzhen

 

 

 

The hearing of Labour activist Wu Guijun eventually started

18

Feb 2014

Since the arbitrary detention of Wu on 23 May last year, the court hearing eventually started yesterday (17 February 2014). More than 40 supporters went to the court. The court arranged other cases before Wu in the last minute and delayed the hearing that was originally arranged at 2:30pm on the day. More than an hour after, the judge called off the hearing because “the prosecutor couldn’t make his way to the court today”.

All the supporters protested the court’s decision, refused to leave and made a complaint to the court’s petitioning office. The judge finally came back at 4:30pm with a replaced prosecutor.

Supporters who attended the hearing said that, the evidences from the prosecutor were too weak to prove any criminal act. Although the family members of Wu sook help from Shenzhen ACFTU before, no officer from the official union attended the hearing yesterday. The hearing lasted for an hour and to be continued until further court notice.

Wu Guijun, a worker from Diweixin Product Factory of Shenzhen city has lost his freedom since 23 May 2013. Diweixin Product Factory is a Hong Kong-owned furniture factory. The employer has been secretly moving its machinery away from its Shenzhen factory. When the workers learned that the order would drop dramatically from May onwards, out of desperation, they staged a strike, guarded the machinery from being relocated, demanded the employer to explain the relocation and to compensate workers. Wu was elected by workers to negotiate with the employer and was arrested by the police on 23 May when all the striking workers went to government’s petition office for demanding intervention to the violations of labour rights.

The hearing of Labour activist WU Guijun eventually startedMore background information of this case can be found from the earlier feature report in HKCTU’s China Labour Quarterly 2nd issue:

http://www.hkctu.org.hk/cms/article.jsp?article_id=1073&cat_id=12

 

The report of the court hearing of Wu's case was posted on sina micro blog (weibo) of labour activists.

http://weibo.com/u/2810208003?from=feed&loc=nickname

 

Supporters protested at the court's petition office and refused to leave.

 

Supporters including Wu’s family, the workers of Diweixin factory, and activists from mainland NGO came to the court hearing and waited outside the courtroom.

 

Supporters took a photo outside the court and claimed "Release Wu Guijun, striking is not a crime"

Stop the brutal suppression of workers and trade unions in Cambodia

10

Jan 2014

Today Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, a group of Hong Kong-based labour rights organizations and trade unions staged a protest against the Cambodian government for its violent suppression of the recent lawful strike of garment, textile and footwear workers demanding for an increase of minimum wage. The representative from the Cambodian Consulate received the petition letter, but there has been no response on its violent suppression on the trade unions and workers in Cambodia.

Numerous media reports have confirmed that at least four workers were brutally killed and 23 others severely injured as a result of the excessive force usedby the police and armed forces with live ammunition between 2 and 3 January 2014. Mr Vorn Pao, President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) and Mr Theng Savoeun, Coordinator of Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Communities (CCFC) were among the arrested and 10 workers are remain in custody.

We wonder why the Hun Sen administration perpetrated such degree of violence to silent a legitimate demand for a minimum wage increased. The current minimum wages wereUS$75 and $80 per month for probationary and non-probationary workers in the garment industry respectively. The Labor Advisory Committee recommended an increase toUS$157-$177. Garment workers have been the backbone of the fast economic growth for the last decade. Roughly 80% of export from Cambodia relies upon 700,000 garment workers. Their wages are lagging far behind inflation and their increased productivity. In December 2013, the government announced its plan to increase minimum wage to US$95 (later increased to US$100), which utterly ignored the recommendation of the Labor Advisory Committee, as well as unions’ demand for an increase to US$160 as the minimum wage.

We are deeply concerned about the working conditions of Cambodian workers. Hong Kong is Cambodia’s 6th largest trading partner and the 5th largest source of imports. Currently, some 56 Hong Kong-owned garment and footwear factories are operating in Cambodia, employing more than 35,000 workers. These companies act in complicity with transnational companies, such as H&M, Gap, Levi’s, for a low wage.

It is outrageous that the Cambodian government has shown little interest to enhance the welfare of its citizens. Cambodian workers have their constitutional right to strike and freedom of association. As a signatory to the ILO’s Convention No 87 on Freedom of Association, the Cambodian government also has obligation to uphold the principle of minimum interference in a peaceful strike. Meanwhile, it is a fundamental human right to enjoy a decent living. Article 104 of the Cambodian Labor Law clearly states that "wage must be at least equal to the guaranteed minimum wage; that is, it must ensure every worker of a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity”. Obviously, the government’s proposal of US$100 per month is in no ways enough to guarantee the legally required standard of living.

 

We urge:

1.the Government of Cambodia to immediately stop brutally suppressing workers and union leaders and refrain from deploying violent measures against its own citizens;

2.the employers must find ways of doing business without squeezing workers to death; and

3.the authorities must begin with immediate release of the arrested workers and union leaders as well as a thorough independent investigation of the violence that killed workers who had just wanted a better life and have courage to protest injustice.

 

 

Participants: Asian Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network (ATNC), Globalization Monitor (GM),Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association (HKWWA), Interfaith Cooperation Forum (IFC), Labour Action China (LAC), Labour Education and Service Network (LESN), Labour Party, Left 21, Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union (RCCIGU), Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), Worker Empowerment (WE),War On Want

Shenzhen’s minimum salary to increase to 1808 yuan

27

Dec 2013

Kevin McGeary   

Post from The Nangfung: http://www.thenanfang.com/blog/shenzhens-minimum-salary-to-increase-to-1808-yuan/

 

Shenzhen mayor Xu Qin announced this week that the minimum salary in the city will increase by 13% to 1808 yuan as of February 1. The minimum hourly wage will increase by 13.8% to 16.5 yuan,Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reports.

Local governments in China are required to raise their minimum wage levels at least once every two years. The last increase in the minimum salary was made in March this year when it was raised by 100 yuan to 1600 yuan a month.

Shenzhen has long had the highest minimum wage in China. Last year Wired published an op-ed arguing that the latest increase "could cause a ripple effect across the world’s major technology companies.”

Apple, HP, Samsung and Nokia are among the companies that have parts and products manufactured in Shenzhen, so the wage rise could impact the cost of computers, handsets and games consoles worldwide. Original equipment manufacturers such as Foxconn might start looking elsewhere for cheaper bases. But even though manufacturing costs are rising across China, the country is still highly attractive to manufacturers due to its infrastructure.

The announcement was made at the 101st executive meeting of the municipal government, a meeting at which the development of e-commerce was heavily emphasised.

HKCTU Solidarity with Korean railway workers

24

Dec 2013

 

Supporting the Korean railway workers’ right to strike against privatization;

Calling on the Korean Government to stop persecuting trade unions and release all arrested unionists!

 

On December 24, representatives from HKCTU and labour organizations (AMRC, Globalization Monitor, AMCB, IMW-HK) staged a demonstration at the Korean Consulate-General in Hong Kong, to protest against the Korean Government's recent suppression of the strike of Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) and arrest of unionists. The Korean Consulate refused to take the protest letter at first and the vice Consulate pushed one protester from HKCTU backward when they tried to put the letter at the door.

The KRWU had been striking since December 9 to fight against the government’s proposal to privatize the Korean rail company Korail. Yet instead of respecting the strike, on December 22, the Korean government sent hundreds of riot police to raid the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)'s headquarters in Seoul, injuring hundreds due to the use of pepper spray and violence. 130 people including strikers, union leaders and supporters, were arrested.

HKCTU supported the KRWU’s strike against the privatization of the national railway. Korail had planned to set up a new subsidiary for bullet train operations, KTX, in which would take a 41% share, with the rest of funds only purchasable by public corporations. The KRWU pointed out that creating a new subsidiary was a move towards privatization and did not believe the verbal promise of the government not to privatize. The struggle of the railway workers was to protect both their labour rights and the public interest. In many cases of privatization of public services, whether in Hong Kong or other countries, only big corporations benefit, while the employees and general public suffer from deterioration of working conditions and rise in service charges. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and International Transport Federation (ITF) also strongly supported the strike of the Korean railway employees.

Since the beginning of the strike, the Korean government and Korail have not shown willingness to negotiate with the employees in good faith. On the contrary, the government and Korail management applied various tactics to persecute the strikers, including accusing them of an illegal strike and replacing the striking employees with temporary workers, which would undermine safety standards of the railway operation. Korail has filed a damages lawsuit worth 7.7 billion won against the union and its 186 leaders. HKCTU criticized the Korean government’s action as a grave violation of the right to strike. More shockingly, hundreds of riot police raided the KCTU's headquarters in Seoul on December 22, injuring hundreds. According to the information of KCTU, 130 unionists including the leaders of KRWU, KCTU and supporters were arrested in this attack. These suppressions were serious violations of union rights and human rights. The international unions (ITUC and ITF) also have strongly condemned the Korean government’s anti-union behaviour which runs contrary to its obligations under the ILO and to the labour standards in its trade agreements with the US and the EU.

 

HKCTU has the following demands for the Korean Government:

1.    Immediately release all of arrested unionists

2.    Stop persecution of trade unions and of the strike of KRWU

3.    Enter into talks with KRWU about restructuring and stop privatization of the Railway

Worker safety concerns linger 20 years after Shenzhen factory fire

19

Nov 2013

 

Reported by Lin Jing for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Post from Radio Free Asia: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/fire-11192013132650.html

 

Two decades after a fire at a toy factory in southern China's Shenzhen killed 87 workers, most of them young women, Hong Kong activists and survivors have hit out at the continuing failure of China's employers to protect their workers from death and injury in the workplace.

As activists in Hong Kong marked the anniversary of the Zhili Handicrafts Factory fire on Tuesday with a march calling for better safety conditions, survivor Sun Chengyun told RFA's Cantonese Service that her life had been blighted by the tragedy.

 

"I suffered 50 percent burns all over my body," said Sun, a former worker at the factory, which had breached safety regulations. "Whenever this comes up, I feel so downhearted."

"Ever since then, I have just been at home doing nothing, because I don't want other people to see the scars on my body," Sun said.

"My whole left hand has been crippled out of shape, and my left leg and arm and back are scarred," she said.

Sun said the Chinese authorities had boosted fire safety features in factories since the Zhili fire shocked the world and caused a public outcry over the treatment of rural migrant workers 20 years ago.

"They have fire exits, marked in green, and there are now fire extinguishers on every floor of the dormitory buildings," she said.

"But whether or not they would actually be available when needed is another matter."

 

Breach of safety regulations

In 1993, managers Huang Guoguang and Lao Zhaoquan hired mainly female migrant workers from rural Sichuan and Henan to work in the Hong Kong-owned factory sub-contracted to make toys for the Italian multinational Artsana S.p.A./Chicco, according to the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin (CLB).

The factory had breached safety regulations by combining workers' dormitories, production facilities, and storage in one building, adding bars to the windows and locking fire escape exits to prevent theft, CLB said in a report on the fire.

 

"On Nov. 19, 1993, fire broke out and quickly spread through the building," it said.

"Most of the charred remains of the 87 victims of the fire were piled up in heaps at the locked exits."

A further 47 people were seriously injured in the fire, which hit world headlines and caused widespread public outrage at the blocking of fire exits.

 

Hong Kong march

Hong Kong activists marched to the local offices of the International Toy Manufacturers' Association to mark the anniversary of the Zhili fire and to call for better safety standards among its member factories in China.

Suki Chung, executive director of the Hong Kong-based Labor Watch China, said Hong Kong companies were still the world's top exporters of toys, using factories in mainland China.

"A large number of Hong Kong-invested toy factories are involved in occupational injuries and deaths," Chung said on Tuesday. "There are at least 200 cases of poisoning every year, which take place particularly in the Pearl River delta region."

"Many of those never receive compensation," she said.

 

Workplace accidents

In 2006, government figures revealed that around 700,000 people become disabled annually in China as the result of a workplace accident, Chung's group reported on its website.

She said many factories were able to receive safety certificates through corrupt channels, and that certification was no guarantee that effective safety measures were in place.

"This says nothing about their safety status, and the bigger factories all have poor safety practices," she said.

"We are calling on the Toy Manufacturers' Association to liaise with factories to make public details of their safety licensing procedures," Chung said.

An official who answered the phone at the Shenzhen municipal labor bureau declined to comment on the avoidance of workplace safety standards by factory owners in southern China.

"I don't know. We have no information about this at all," the employee said.

 

 

 

 

HK trade unions and labour NGOs solidarity with the striking workers in ASM Pacific Shenzhen Yantian

06

Nov 2013

 

On the morning of November 6th, a congregation of about 20 people from various labour organizations in Hong Kong petitioned at the headquarter of the ASM Pacific Technology Ltd., demanding the company to negotiate with the workers’ representatives from ASM Micro Electronic Technology Factory in regarding the compensation arrangements of the factory relocation and the occupational safety situation.  The Vice President of ASM Pacific Mr. Lo Chan Sum received the petition and pledge to: (a) the company will clarify to the workers in Yantian regarding plant relocation arrangements and severance payment will be paid to the workers in accordance to the law; (2) the company is also willing to negotiate with the 16 elected workers’ representatives, and will take the initiative to contact them.

We will continue to pay close attention to the above industrial action in the ASM Pacific Technology Ltd. at Shenzhen Yantian District.  Since last Thursday, more than 5,000 workers went on strike for more than one week.  We have learned that the Shenzhen Municipal Government had intervened, and we would like to urge the company to promptly respond to the three reasonable and legitimate demands proposed by the workers.

 

Compensation Issues Raised by Plant Relocation

The strike was set off due to the relocation of production line from Shenzhen to Huizhou as proposed by ASM Micro Electronic Technology.  The workers would like the employers to "buyout their contracts” before deciding whether to accept the re-employment in Huizhou. The relocation of plant raised issues on compensation, including financial compensation, severance fees etc.  However, the company has yet to reveal details on whether the main production line will be moved to Huizhou.  Therefore, we hope that the ASM Pacific Technology Ltd., as the parent company of ASM Micro Electronic Technology, to respond positively to the demands of workers.  Meanwhile, we would also like to request the ASM Pacific to reveal detailed arrangements on positional transfer and dismissal with regards to the relocation. We strongly urge the employers to respect the demands of the workers, and offer reasonable compensation to all the workers who do not want to move to Huizhiu, including severance payment with regard to seniority.

 

Occupational Poisoning Compensation

In addition, there are serious issues concerning occupational health and safety in the plant. We understand there are at least two cases of leukaemia caused by occupational benzene poisoning occurred in the Yantian Factory.  Earlier, a Hong Konglabour organization assisted the worker who diagnosed occupational benzene poisoning in 2009 and successfully fought for occupational illness compensation. At the meantime, the number of workers who diagnosed with occupational benzene poisoning is also on the rise, this is mainly due to the factory uses benzene or other toxic and harmful substances in the production process.  In addition to occupational injury and illness cases, a significant number of workers suffer physical strain, which can not be legitimately categorized as occupational injuries.  Therefore, we urge the employer to compensate workers suffer from occupational poisoning, and properly handle workers with physical strain.

 

Recognize the Legitimacy of the Elected Trade Unions and Immediately Commence Negotiations with Elected Representatives

As a matter of fact, the ASM Micro Electronic Technology does have a trade union.  However, this union is not able to fully represent the interests of grass-root workers.  When the news of the production line relocation first broke out, many workers decided to join the union and demanded for a re-election of leadership.  Before the election, workers' representatives from the plant met with the officials from the ACFTU’s Yantian Branch, and gained their consent on the re-election.  However, the ACFTU later refused to recognize the 16 representatives elected by the workers. Subsequently, these elected workers' representatives were unable to take office and legitimately represent the workers in the negotiation.  Thus, we demand the employer to recognize the legitimacy of the elected trade unions and their representatives and immediately commence negotiations on compensation issues.  Indeed, we also demand that no reprisal will be acted upon the representatives from the employers and the ACFTU in the future.

 

Labour Action China

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Guilty as a striker? Over 120 days of arbitrary detention for defending workers’ rights: Wu Guijun

31

Oct 2013

 

On the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival (17 September 2013), an academic Wang Songjiang wrote at his mini-blog, “tomorrow will be Mid-Autumn Festival, it is also the 121th day since Wu Guijun, a worker from Diweixin Product Factory of Shenzhen city has lost his freedom. Wu was elected by workers to negotiate with the employer and was detained by the police on 23 May. Until now, he has not been released, neither his family has been told what charge he would face, nor any formal arrest warrant has been issued. Such a practice completely violates the existing legislation and is a brutal deprivation of a citizen's personal liberty.” Wang's post was shared by some 6,000 bloggers and become one of the most popular mini-blogs that day. In this quarterly, the China Labour Rights' Team of the HKCTU is feathering Wu Guijun's case, through materials gathered from the internet and interviews with labour organizers in China, to investigate the background of his detention.

 

Missing compensation at factory closure

Diweixin Product Factory is a Hong Kong-owned furniture factory. According to the Mainland Chinese media, the employer has been secretly moving its machinery away from its Shenzhen factory. When the workers learned that the order would drop dramatically from May onwards, out of desperation, they staged a strike, guarded the machinery from being relocated, demanded the employer to explain the relocation and to compensate workers. Article 46 of the Labour Contract Law of China has stated that “The Employer shall pay the employee financial compensation in the circumstance that the business is closed down. ” The financial compensation should be based on the number of years s/he has worked for the employer at the rate of one month’s wages (average wage for the 12 months prior to termination of labor contract) for each full year worked.

 

From strike and detention

 

Almost all 300 workers from Diweixin Product Factory took part in the strike. Wu Guijun was elected by the workers as their chief negotiator. Yet, the negotiation did not work out. The employer was unwilling to pay financial compensation and having lawyers to negotiate, instead of meeting the workers himself. The workers felt that they had been ignored and disrespected. Some outrageous workers even blocked the road after the first day of negotiation, a common tactic of Chinese workers to express their discontents. Other workers sought help from the trade union and other authorities. Wu himself did not join the road blockage, nor did he visit the Government, he chose to stay in the factory.

Due to the lack of freedom of expression and media censorship, the strike was not being reported by mainstream media, Wu's task was to spread and update the news of strike at a mini-blog. After his detention, a new blog of “workers of Diweixin” was rebuilt, to document the strike, its aftermath and Wu's detention.

During the two-week strike, workers have continuously demanded the Government and the ACFTU to step in, and went twice to the Longhua District Government to petition. Yet, the final offer from the employer was to compensate them 400 Yuan for each year of service. This offer is far below the legal requirement, i.e. the number of years s/he has worked for the employer at the rate of one month’s wages (average wage for the 12 months prior to termination of labor contract) for each full year worked. The average monthly wages of the Diweixin workers was 2,700 Yuan. Therefore, the workers turned down the offer and went on protesting.

An informant reflected, “Wu Guijun was reluctant to launch the third protest, yet, most of the strikers did not want to wait anymore. In the afternoon of 23 May, without informing the workers' representatives, some 200 workers launched the third protest. Wu could not stop them and went along, but tried to persuade them to return. On their way to protest, all workers were stopped and detained by the riot police.” Most workers were released on the next day, about 20 workers received administrative detention for 13 days. Yet, Wu Guijun, another workers' representative and a female worker were under special criminal detention, which implied that they would be charged for criminal offenses.

A few days later, the factory put out a notice, to formally dismiss all workers' representatives, canceled all negotiation and made the compensation offer at 400 Yuan per year of service. Worrying that their resistance would harm their fellow workers at the detention centre, the workers ended their strike and terminate their labour relations with the enterprise, hoping that it would speed up the release of the workers. Two of them were released after 37 days, to be on bail while awaiting trial. Yet, Wu continued to be detained and nobody knows about his fate.

In early September, workers re-set up a mini-blog “Diweixin at rebirth” and released the news that the Shenzhen City Baoan District's Procuratorate would charge Wu for “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”. To support Wu, workers have written an open letter to the Shenzhen ACFTU, asking it to protect Wu as a trade union is obligated to do. The letter states, “Strike is not unlawful. It is not guilty to strike in order to defend one's legal rights. Yet, we have been treated unfairly, especially Wu Guijun, who joined our strike together with some 300 members. We are concerned that once Wu is sued, it would send a dangerous signal to workers, that their chance of being prosecuted would go up if they join a strike. It would only worsen the social conflicts and harm the social harmony”.

Wu has been detained for more than 100 days and no formal notification has been delivered to his family. They wrote an open letter to the Shenzhen City Government, “Wu has a 70 years-old mother, his two kids are still studying. It is unbearable for his family not receiving any notice of trial, not knowing his whereabouts and his situation. He is simply a migrant worker who tries to defend his rights, how wrong can he get?” On the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival, his son posted a picture at his mini-blog, it reads “Dad, I wish you could return, I wish for our reunion at Mid-Autumn.”

 

Photo of Wu Guijun's son

 

His fellow workers also took photos to show their support, stating “strike is not unlawful, release Wu Guijun!” Others from different places also joined their action.

 

Photo of Diweixin workers

 

Photo of solidarity action in Hong Kong

 

Photo of solidarity action of IUF

 

Globalization Monitor and Asia Monitor Resource Centre have launched an online campaign, to demand the relevant authorities in Shenzhen City:

1)        to safeguard the workers' right to strike,

2)        to protect workers' representatives of the strikers,

3)        to support Wu Guijun and his family, intervene to drop the criminal charge against him and release him immediately.

 

Link to the online campaign: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fPLtzBgVYwyrcaPfc9zhwxrtr7Z2VbH2LWYfnwu9V3s/viewform

 

The HKCTU's China Labour Rights Team and other trade union representatives would protest at the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong on 1 October, to demand for the immediate release of Wu Guijun and other detained labour activists , to condemn the ongoing selective enforcement and the police's abuse of power in repressing independent labour movement and violating core labour rights.

Guangdong Province Regulation on Collective Negotiations and Collective Contracts for Enterprises

31

Oct 2013

(Draft for comments)

 

Chapter I. General Provisions

Chapter II. Collective Negotiation

    Section I. Contents of collective Negotiation

    Section II. Collective Negotiation representatives

    Section III. Procedures of collective Negotiation

Chapter III. Collective Contract

Chapter IV. Collective Negotiations and Collective Contract Dispute Handling

Chapter V. Legal Liabilities

Chapter VI. Supplementary Provisions

 

 

Chapter I. General Provisions

 

Article 1: In order to promote harmonious labor relations, to protect the legal rights and interests of employees and companies, and to create standards of a system of collective negotiations and collective contracts, the following regulations are established in accordance with the Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China, and the Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China.

 

Article 2: This Regulation is applicable for the enterprises in the administrative jurisdiction of this Province.

 

Article 3: Enterprises shall establish and improve collective negotiation and collective contract systems

Collective negotiation refers to the equal negotiation between employees and enterprises with regard to remuneration, working time, rest and vacation, work health and safety, vocational training, social insurance and welfare, and other matters.

The collective contract refers to the written agreement established between all employees of enterprises and the enterprises with regard to working conditions, remuneration and other matters. It may be categorized as general collective contract, special collective contract, industrial collective contract and regional collective contract.

 

Article 4: Employees and enterprises shall follow the principles of mutual respect, fairness, honesty and equal negotiation in the establishment and implementation of collective negotiation and collective contract.

The collective contract established according to the law shall be legally binding for the enterprises and all the employees.

 

Article 5: Working conditions and remuneration standards described in the labor contract shall not be lower than those described in the collective contract; working conditions and remuneration standards described in the collective contract established in the enterprises shall not be lower than those described in the industrial or regional collective contract in the same areas.

 

Article 6: Government at all levels shall work to strengthen collective negotiations and collective contracts, in order to comprehensively promote a system of negotiations and collective contracts.

The human resource and social security authorities at the County level or above shall supervise the establishment and implementation of collective contracts according to law, and review the collective contracts.

The local federations of trade unions shall organize, guide and supervise unions in enterprises to conduct collective negotiation, establish and implement collective contracts.

Enterprises’ associations, industrial and commerce associations and other employers’ organizations and business administrative agencies shall guide enterprises to practice social responsibility, direct and assist enterprises in establishing and improving collective negotiation and collective contract systems.

 

 

Chapter II.Collective Negotiation

 

Section I. Contents of Collective Negotiation

 

Article 7:Employees may undertake collective negotiation and establish a collective contract with enterprises with regard to one or several of the following items:

1.Remuneration;

2.Working time;

3.Work holidays and vacation;

4.Occupational health and safety;

5.Social security payment and benefits;

6.Special protection of women workers and minor workers;

7.Rights and protection of temporary agency workers;

8.Vocational education and training;

9.Labor contract management;

10.Rewards and sanctions;

11.Reduction in workforce;

12.Duration of the collective contract;

13.Procedures for the change or termination of the collective contract;

14.Mediation and settlement of disputes in the implementation of the collective contract;

15.Liability for the violation of the collective contract;

16.Other matters that both Parties mutually agree to negotiate;

 

Article 8: The collective wage negotiation refers to the collective negotiation between employees and enterprises with regard to the pay distribution systems and methods of wage distribution, wage levels in the enterprise, and other items.

Generally, the collective wage negotiation shall be held once a year and both parties may negotiate over one or several of the following items:

1.Wage distribution system and wage standards;

2.Wage payment method and time;

3.Annual total wage and average pay level of employees;

4.Wage rates and methods of adjustment;

5.Allowance and subsidy levels, bonus distribution method;

6.Wage during the probation period, sick leave and leaves of absence;

7.Duration of collective wage contract, procedures for the change and termination of collective wage contract;

8.Condition for the termination of collective wage contract;

9.Liability for the violation of collective wage contract;

10.Other mutually agreed upon wage-related items.

 

Article 9: The collective wage negotiation shall be in accordance with laws and regulations, taking into consideration the following factors:

1.Labor productivity and economic performance of the enterprise;

2.Total payroll and employees’ average wage level in the enterprise in the preceding year;

3.Wage guideline for enterprises issued by human resource and social security authorities, and labor market wage level;

4.Consumer Price Index for urban residents as issued by local statistics bureaus;

5.Local minimum wage, regional and industrial average wage levels as issued by relevant government authorities;

6.Other matters related to collective wage negotiation.

 

Article 10: Employees or enterprises may request negotiation on wage adjustment on any of the following occasions:

1.Change in labor productivity or economic performance of the enterprises;

2.Persistent and substantial change in the local Consumer Price Index for urban residents;

3.Change in the wage guidelines as issued by the local government.

 

Article 11: Industry trade unions and regional trade unions can conduct collective negotiations and sign industrial and regional collective contracts with organizations representing employers, such as employers’ associations, associations of industry and commerce, trade associations, or business associations.

 

Article 12: The industrial and regional collective contract established according to law shall be legally binding to the enterprises and employees in the same industries and regions.

 

Article 13: Industry-wide collective negotiation and contracts may be initiated and established with regard to the following matters bearing direct interests of the employees in the industry:

1.Minimum wage standards of the industry;

2.Rate of wage adjustment in the industry;

Performance standards for similar kinds of work in the industry;

3.Occupational health and safety standards for all jobs in the industry;

4.Staff training policies for all jobs in the industry;

5.Special protection of women workers and minor workers, and the protection of temporary agency workers’ rights and interests in the industry;

6.Other matters appropriate to industrial collective negotiation.

 

Article 14: Regional collective negotiation and contract may be initiated and established with regard to the following matters bearing direct interests of the employees in the region:

1.Minimum wage standards of the region;

2.Rate of wage adjustment of the region;

3.Occupational health and safety standards in the region;

4.Special protection of women workers and minor workers, and the protection of temporary agency workers’ rights and interests in the region.

5.Other matters appropriate to regional collective negotiation.

 

Section II. Collective Negotiation Representatives

 

Article 15: The collective negotiation representatives (representatives hereafter) refer to the individuals elected according to legal procedures and authorized with the right to represent the interests of their own Party in the collective negotiation.

Each party shall have 3-9 representatives and appoint a chief representative. Both Parties may also have a certain number of observer representatives.

 

Article 16: The chief representative for the enterprise shall be the legal representative of the enterprise or any person authorized in written form by the legal representative of the enterprise. Other representatives shall be designated by the legal representative of the enterprise.

In companies with an established trade union, the chief representative for the employees shall be Chairman of the trade union or any person authorized by the Chairman in writing. The rest of the representatives shall be selected either by the trade union or democratically elected by the workers’ congress. In companies without a trade union, or where there is no functioning trade union, the representatives for the employees shall be democratically elected by the employees under the guidance of the local federation of trade unions. The chief representative shall be elected by all the collective negotiation representatives. If, due to exceptional circumstances, the representatives cannot be democratically elected, the representatives and the chief representative shall be selected by the employees under the guidance of the local federation of trade unions. The number of elected representatives may be more than that of representatives participating in the collective negotiation as appropriate to provide alternative candidates when needed.

In enterprises with relatively large numbers of female workers, there shall be an appropriate proportion of female representatives on the employees’ side.

 

Article 17: In industrial or regional collective negotiation, representatives of the enterprises shall be appointed by the enterprises’ organizations in the industries or regions. The chief representatives shall be the leaders of the enterprises’ organizations. When there are several representative organizations at the industry or the regional level, the chief negotiation representative and other negotiation representatives will be elected through democratic procedures. When there are no representative organizations at the industry or the regional level, companies shall democratically elect chief a negotiation representative and other negotiation enterprises.

The representatives on the employees’ side are selected by the industry level or area trade union. The chief negotiation representative is the chairperson of the industry level or area trade union. When there is no established industrial or area trade union, the local federation of trade unions can assume the task of conducting collective negotiations, or the chief negotiation representative and other negotiation representatives can be democratically elected among enterprise union chairpersons in the industry or regions.

 

Article 18: The chief representatives of each side may authorize in written form experts from outside the company as their negotiation representatives. The number of authorized representatives shall not exceed 1/3 of negotiation representatives of each party.

The chief representatives shall not be from outside of the company. Company’s negotiation representatives shall not be the employees’ negotiation representative.

 

Article 19: The dismissal and replacement of representatives shall follow the same procedures as the appointment of representatives. The representatives of the opposite Party shall be informed in written form.

When enterprise unions do not fulfill their responsibilities according to the law, the local trade union shall order the enterprise union to correct its behavior. When enterprise union chairpersons do not represent employees in fulfilling their responsibilities of conducting collective negotiations or have difficulties in fulfilling such tasks, on  the demand of more than one third of employees or representatives of the employees’ representative congress  to change the employees’ chief negotiation representatives in collective negotiations, the local trade union shall guide the employees to hold an employees’ representative congress and re-elect the chief representatives.

 

Article 20: The representatives’ term of office shall be determined by the Party being represented. In the absence of other specific stipulations, the term shall end when the collective contract agreed upon through collective negotiation expires. When the collective negotiation does not result in an agreement or a collective contract is not signed, the term ends with the end of the collective negotiation.

 

Article 21: During the representatives’ term of office, the enterprises shall not unilaterally change their posts, discharge or demote them, deduct their wages or welfare.

In the case that the labour contract of the representatives expires during their term of office, it shall be extended until the termination of the term of office. Except under the conditions cited in Article 39 of the Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China, the company shall not terminate labor contracts of negotiation representatives during the period they perform their duties.

 

Article 22: The responsibilities of the representatives include:

1.To participate in the collective negotiation meetings;

2.To collect, keep and provide the materials and documents related to the collective negotiation;

3.To listen and collect opinions, and to accept questions from the individuals of the party they represent;

4.To represent their party in the settlement of labour contract disputes;

5.Others as described by the laws and regulations.

 

Article 23: Negotiation representatives have the right to request documents related to subjects of negotiation, including registration information, constitutions, financial and accounting reports, work performance standards, payment of wages, tax and social insurance fees. However, materials involving national security or technology secrets are excluded.

Negotiation representatives shall keep confidential any business secrets of the company, of which they have obtained knowledge during the course of collective negotiations.

 

Article 24: The enterprises shall allow the necessary working conditions and time for the representatives to perform their duties.

The representatives’ participation in the collective negotiation and their due preparation for the collective negotiation shall be regarded as normal work, and their wages and welfare shall not be affected.

 

Section III. Procedures of Collective Negotiation

 

Article 25: Employees and the company have the right to request that negotiations be conducted.

When employees or the company request negotiations in written form, the other side must provide a written response within 20 days, providing specific comments to each of the topics. The bargaining proposal must include time, place and content of negotiations.

 

Article 26: The trade union delegates of a company can request the company to enter into collective negotiations.

Employees may direct their request for collective negotiations to the company trade union.  The company trade union shall decide the concrete content and timeframe of negotiations according to the suggestions of the employees and propose collective negotiations to the company; if more than one third of the employees or the trade union delegates request negotiations, the trade union must propose collective negotiations to the company.

If a properly functioning trade union does not exist in the company, the upper-level trade union can advance the employees’ request to the employer. If more than one third of the employees or the trade union delegates request negotiations, the upper-level trade union must propose negotiations to the employer.

 

Article 27: Collective negotiations must be started not later than 60 days after the request for negotiations has been formally issued. Under exceptional circumstances both parties can agree to extend this term by 15 days.

 

Article 28: Collective negotiations are normally conducted by direct consultations. By mutual agreement, negotiations can also be conducted in written or by other methods.

 

Article 29: When collective negotiations are conducted by direct consultation, the chief delegates of both parties chair the negotiations by turns or jointly, or upon mutual agreement, both parties may also determine a third-party chairperson.

The minutes of collective negotiation meetings shall be signed and confirmed by all the representatives present.

 

Article 30: During the collective negotiation, the enterprises shall not:

1. Refuse or purposefully delay collective negotiations;

2. Restrict or interfere with activities of the employees’ delegates, or refuse to permit employees to perform the duties of negotiation delegates;

3. Deny or impede an employees’ access to the workplace, refuse to provide tools or other means of work to employees;

4. Restrict or interfere with trade union activities;

5. Refuse to provide data necessary for collective negotiations or provide false information;

6. Violate, arbitrarily change, or terminate employee delegates’ labor contracts;

7. Refuse to carry out arbitration;

8. Other hostile actions

9. The enterprises are prohibited from threatening, intimidating, cajoling, restricting personal freedom, bullying or assaulting the representatives for the side of employees.

 

Article 31: During times of collective negotiations the employees must not engage in the following activities:

1. Work stoppages or slow-downs which impede the orderly conduct of negotiations or intended to change or re-open existing collective contracts during the time of their duration;

2. produce and arbitrarily disseminate false information, and incite, organize, provoke, assemble, intimidate, or force other employees to participate in a work stoppage or slow-down;

3. destroy the company’s equipment or tools, or interrupt and block the company’s regular production procedures;

4. block, bar or seal off access to the company’s premises, obstruct employees, raw and semi-finished materials, and merchandise from entering or exiting the company’s premises;

5. threaten, intimidate or bribe the other party’s negotiation representatives;

6. restrict the personal liberty of management representatives and insult, intimidate, threaten or physically harm management personnel;

7. interfere with, petition against, or direct work stoppages against mediation procedures agreed upon by both parties;

8. other offensive activities.

In accordance with the Labor Contract Law the company can terminate the labor contracts of employees who engage in aforementioned behavior, seriously violate company regulations, seriously neglect work duties, practice graft, or otherwise create major harm or damage to the company.

 

Article 32: The company must pay employees their regular wages and salaries when they engage in their legal duties as negotiation delegates or take part in negotiation during regular working hours.

The enterprise shall not pay the wages for the employees participating in work stoppage or sabotage during the collective negotiation.

 

Article 33: When agreement is reached in collective negotiation, the chief delegates of both parties will sign the draft collective agreement. When consent cannot be reached or previously unanticipated issues arise during the process of negotiation, the two parties can agree to suspend negotiations. The two parties must determine the duration of the suspension, and the time, location and content for resuming negotiation.

 

Article 34: When a work stoppage or slowdown occurs in a company, the trade union should represent the employees vis-a-vis the company or other concerned parties, reflecting the opinions and demands of the employees and putting forward suggestions to solve the conflict. Reasonable demands on the part of the employees should be accepted by the company. The trade unions shall assist the enterprises in restoring production and work order.

 

 

Chapter III Collective Contract

 

Article 35: Mutually-agreed upon draft collective contracts shall be discussed by the employees’ representative congress. Negotiation representatives on the employees’ side shall report to the employee’s representative congress on the process of negotiation and the content of the draft collective contract.

When the draft collective contract is discussed at the congress of employee representatives, more than two thirds of employees must be present. The draft is considered ratified with the consent of more than half of employees present.

The industrial or regional collective contract draft may be passed based on the deliberation or vote of the industrial or regional employees’ congress or other democratic procedures.

When the collective contract draft is not passed, representatives of both parties shall resume the negotiation and revise the draft.

 

Article 36: Once the collective contract draft has been ratified, it shall be signed by the chief representatives of negotiation parties.

 

Article 37: After a collective contract has been signed, the company shall submit three copies of the collective contract and explanations of the text to the Human Resource and Social Security bureau within 10 days. The following documents shall also be submitted:

1.The collective contract signed by the chief negotiation representatives of both parties;

2.Proof of the legal qualifications of the negotiation representatives of both parties;

3.Minutes of the collective negotiation meetings;

4.Resolutions of the employees’ congress with regard to the deliberation and adoption of the collective contract draft;

5.Other materials as the human resource and social security authorities may deem necessary to submit;

 

Article 38: The human resource and social security authorities shall check the collective contract submitted, to verify the legitimacy of the following items:

1.Whether the negotiation representatives meet the qualifications according to laws, regulations and provisions;

2.Whether the negotiation representatives meet the qualifications according to laws, regulations and provisions;

3.Whether the content of collective contract violates legal regulations.

 

Article 39: The collective contract comes into effect if the human resource and social security authorities have no objection within 15 days after receipt of the contract.

If the Human Resource and Social Security department rejects the collective contract, the signing parties shall, within 15 days, revise or provide further explanations regarding the clauses rejected by the Human Resource and Social Security department. The revision or explanation shall be resubmitted to the Human Resource and Social Security department for review.

The company shall make the collective contract available to all employees within 10 days after the collective contract begins to take effect, and inform the local trade union.

 

Article 40: The collective contract shall be implemented by both parties, and the supervision and regular inspection systems shall be established accordingly.

 

Article 41: The term of the collective contract may be from one to three years. Collective contracts automatically end on the expiration date or when mutually-agreed conditions of termination occur.

The term of the collective contract may be from one to three years. Collective contracts automatically end on the expiration date or when mutually-agreed conditions of termination occur.

 

Article 42: The collective contract remains effective if during the term of collective contract the company changes its name, legal representative, principal etc.

 

Article 43: The collective contract may be changed or terminated under one of the following conditions:

1. If it is agreed by both Parties;

2. A part of or the collective contract cannot be fulfilled due to force majeure;

3. The company is bankrupt, out of operation, split up, or taken over, so that the collective contract cannot be fulfilled;

D. Other situations according to laws and regulations.

 

Article 44: If one side of the collective contract requests negotiations regarding the fulfillment or change of the collective contract, the other side shall reply. Within seven days both parties shall begin negotiations.

 

Article 45: Changes or termination of a collective contract shall be mutually agreed upon through negotiation.

Changes or termination of a collective contract shall follow the procedures of collective negotiations and of signing a collective contract, as stipulated in this regulation.

 

 

Chapter IV Settlement of Collect Negotiation and Collective Contract Disputes

 

Article 46: If disputes occur during collective negotiations and the two parties cannot continue negotiations or reach agreement, the human resource and social security authorities, the relevant government departments in charge of enterprises and the government departments with jurisdiction over the disputed items together with local trade unions and employers’ associations shall make a timely intervention to guide and regulate the company and employees to continue negotiations. Said parties shall also assist the company to keep normal production order, prevent intensification of the conflict, and maintain the harmony and stability of labor relations.

 

Article 47: If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, and remain in disputes over the collective negotiations, the parties can apply for mediation or conciliation in written form to the local human resource and social security authorities.

 

Article 48: The human resource and social security authorities shall make the decision to mediate or not within 10 working days on the receipt of the mediation request.

If the human resource and social security authorities decide to conduct mediation, it shall organize tripartite labor relations actors - such as local trade unions and employers’ associations at the same level - in a timely manner, in order to appoint staff to conduct mediation from the group of collective negotiation mediators. People’s governments at all levels shall set up a group of collective negotiation mediators who can take charge of mediating collective negotiation-related disputes. Necessary expenditures of the group shall be included in the financial budget of the same level. Mediators, while conducting mediations, have the right to enter the workplace, to consult with the company, trade union, and employees about conditions regarding collective negotiations, and to conduct mediations. Relevant units and individuals shall cooperate and provide proper information.

The mediation of collective negotiation disputes shall be concluded within 30 days; the term of mediation may be extended as appropriate for no more than 15 days.

 

Article 49: After reaching agreement through mediation, the mediators will draft the mediation agreement for collective negotiation.

The mediation agreement for collective negotiation shall state the content of negotiations and its period of validity. The agreement takes effect after the chief negotiation representatives and negotiation representatives of both sides sign it. The company and employees most obey and execute the mediation agreement for collective negotiation during the period of validity.

 

Article 50: Before the mediation, or the mediation does not reach any agreement, the enterprises and the employees may jointly lodge the conciliation request to the local human resource and social security authorities. The request shall be made together with the written pledge to accept and implement the decisions of the conciliation committees.

 

Article 51: The human resource and social security authorities shall start the conciliation within five working days on receipt of the conciliation request and written pledge.

The human resource and social security authorities shall establish a conciliation committee for collective negotiation-related disputes and complete conciliation within 30 days. The committee shall include the following members:

1. One conciliator appointed by the company and employees respectively. Conciliators are selected by the company and employees from the pool of conciliators for collective negotiation-related disputes.

2. A chief conciliation facilitator assigned by the human resource and social security authorities.

If the company or employees fail to submit the name lists of the appointed conciliators within the time stipulated by the human resource and social security authorities, the human resource and social security authorities may appoint conciliators from the pool..

The government at various levels shall set up a pool of the conciliation facilitators for collective negotiation disputes and disclose to the public the personal information of those facilitators. The pool shall include the personnel from the human resource and social security authorities, personnel recommended by the enterprises’ organizations and the trade unions, and personnel recognized as possessing social reputation and public trust, familiar with the handling of labor relations, and equipped with relevant expertise.

The government at various levels shall subsidize the conciliation facilitators for their work and pay the necessary expenses. The selection, responsibilities, work procedures, subsidies, and code of conduct of the facilitators shall be regulated by the Provincial government.

 

Article 52: The conciliation committee shall investigate and understand the basic conditions of the negotiation representatives in collective wage negotiations, the production and operation of the company, wage levels of employees, the opinions of both parties and other matters The company and employees shall follow the requests of the conciliators to provide accurate information.

 

Article 53: When agreement is reached through conciliation, both parties shall sign the collective contract according to the law, or revise company rules according to the law and decide or change labor contracts and other items.

If no agreement can be achieved between the parties through conciliation, the collective negotiation conciliation committee shall draft a conciliation agreement within 60 days after receiving the application for conciliation, and present the agreement to both parties. The agreement shall state the period of execution and shall be publicized. The negotiation representatives shall inform employees about the content of the conciliation agreement.  

 

Article 54: When state-owned or state holding enterprises conduct collective negotiations with employees, the upper-level unit in charge shall handle the dispute if both parties cannot reach agreement through negotiations. If this process fails and the dispute case enters the procedures of mediation and conciliation, the unit in charge shall assist the human resource and social security authorities and the conciliation committee to conduct mediation and conciliation.

 

Article 55: For disputes pertaining to the enforcement of the collective contract, trade unions can apply for arbitration or appeal to a court according to the law, if mediation fails.

 

 

Chapter V Legal Liabilities

 

Article 56: If strikes or lockouts occur in public enterprises and institutions, such as water, electricity, gas, public transportation, broadcasting and communication, public sanitation, and hospitals, and related companies, which cause or may cause one of the following consequences, local people’s government departments can announce a cooling-off order according to actual situation, order the company or employees to stop the action, and restore normal order:

1) Harming public security;

2) Undermining the normal social and economic order and the order of residents’ life;

3) Other consequences that seriously threaten public interests.

The local human resource and social security authorities, authorities in charge of the enterprises at the next higher level, local federations of trade unions, and the enterprises’ organizations guides both Parties to conduct collect negotiation and resolve the disputes.

Relevant units and individuals, if refusing to follow the cooling-off order of the local People’s Government and violating public security management regulations, can be punished by police departments.

 

Article 57: If a company violates Article 25 of this regulation, local trade unions at county level and above have the rights to request the company to correct its behavior and to give notice about the company’s behavior to the public.

 

Article 58: If a company violates Articles 30, 48 of this regulation, People’s Governments at the county level and above shall order corrections within a determined period of time.

 

Article 59: If a company violates Article 25 of this regulation, if strikes or slow-downs occur because the company does not reply within the stipulated period of time or refuses negotiation without just cause, the company shall not terminate employees’ labor contracts in cases of employees’ serious violation of enterprise rules; if an employee requests to terminate their individual labor contract, the company shall pay economic compensation according to the law.

 

Article 60: If a company violates Article 30 or an employee violates Article 31 and disobeys public security management regulations, the police department will handle the case according to the law. If crimes have been committed, the violators should be investigated for criminal responsibility according to the law. Employees who agitate, organize, incite, or congregate others to disturb the normal production and operation of the company shall be punished according to Article 23 of the Law of Public Security Administrative Punishments.

 

Article 61: If officers of relevant government departments and trade union staff in carrying out administrative tasks regarding collective negotiations are derelict in their duties, abuse their power, or commit irregularities for personal interests, the departments in charge shall punish them; if crimes have been committed, the violators should be investigated for criminal responsibility according to the law.

 

 

Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions

 

Article 62: When the branch of a company, with consent from the legal representative of the company, conducts collective negotiation, signs and implements a collective contract with employees in the branch, this regulation shall be followed.

Institutions and privately owned non-enterprises which implement enterprise-style management shall observe this regulation.

 

Article 63: This regulation shall go into effect as of … , and the Guangdong Province Provisions on Enterprise Collective Contracts promulgated by the 22nd meeting of the Standing Committee of 8th Guangdong Province People’s Congress on June 1, 1996 shall be abolished simultaneously.

Revealed: How trade unions are failing in Shenzhen’s factories

30

Oct 2013

Olivia Rosenman       

Post from South China Morning Post: http://www.scmp.com/news/china-insider/article/1343678/revealed-how-trade-unions-are-failing-shenzhens-factories

 

Trade unions are invisible and ineffective in four factories in Shenzhen that have previously been recognised by the government as leaders in protecting their workers’ rights, according to undercover investigations conducted by a group of local university students.

 

Pay rates below minimum wage, excessive working hours, insufficient safety protection and poor working conditions were discovered in four out of five factories targeted by the students. Union membership was low and many workers were unaware the trade unions existed.

 

Twelve students in the southern Chinese city posed as job-seekers during their summer break and took up employment in five different factories, three of which had received national awards for their trade unions. The students recorded their personal observations and conducted in-depth interviews with the workers.

 

In the Gaoxin Electronics factory, work days continued into the early hours of the morning during busy periods, and staff were paid less than the minimum wage. Workers could only take leave without pay and were fined 100 yuan (HK$126) each time. Supervision was harsh, toilet breaks limited and water and soldering dust were serious safety hazards.

 

On top of substandard conditions and remuneration, the students discovered minimal union participation. Workers were confused about the role of trade unions. Many did not know if they were members, several did not even know there was a union available to join, according to the students’ report.

 

At one factory, Baitai Jewellery, none of the 33 workers surveyed knew if they were a union member, only one knew what a trade union was. At Fuqun Electronics, 30 per cent of the workers knew there was a trade union, but less than five per cent knew if they were members. None of the five factories had democratic union elections.

 

"It’s pretty much what we would have expected. It’s been the standard situation for enterprise trade unions in China for a long time where they don’t really represent workers’ interests”, said Geoff Crothall, a long-term advocate of workers rights at NGO the China Labour Bulletin.

 

 In May last year, the Deputy Head of Shenzhen’s trade union federation said that direct elections would become increasingly common in Shenzhen’s factory unions, and singled out 163 enterprises to be targeted in the coming year.

 

More than a year later, there has been little progress. "The point of the students’ investigation is that the Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions promised these elections and to improve the situation and it doesn’t seem that much has changed’, said Crothall.

 

Baitai Jewellery was one of 163 factories targeted. The students reported Baitai’s union did not have an office, telephone hotlines, mailbox, or even a bulletin board.

 

The situation at the Japanese-owned Epson electronics factory was better. All of the 25 workers surveyed at the Epson factory were aware of the trade union and 23 of them knew whether they were members or not.

 

The students sent an open letter to the Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions along with a report documenting their findings. "The unions are not fulfilling their duty. There were series violations of labour law discovered in all five factories”, reads the letter.

 

The letter urged the federation’s chairman to settle the disputes in the four factories from their report, and to promote direct elections for all factory workers in Shenzhen.

 

The Shenzhen Federation of Trade Unions did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Workers’ rights in the southern manufacturing belt have long caused unrest and are a sensitive issue for local governments. Several high-profile incidents in recent years have drawn international attention, such as a wave of strikes in a Honda factory in Foshan in 2010 and several suicides at Foxconn plants in the past three years.

 

The weibo accounts of all of the students involved have been deleted.

 

 

 

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