China Labour Quarterly Issue 18

Corporate and Government Collaborte to Suppress Strike
Workers Claim Victory Through Collective Bargaining

Guangzhou Panyu Simone Handbag Co. Ltd. (“Panyu Simone”) is a South Korean-owned enterprise that established in 1992. Earlier in March this year, more than 1000 workers from the factory went on a nine-day strike to fight for remuneration on pension and other work-related benefits.  Throughout the strike, the workers displayed tremendous solidarity and finally forced the employer to respond their demands by means of collective bargaining.

A savoir or a bully?
Discussion on Chinese investments in Africa

Since China's grand One Belt One Road strategy came into action, China's overseas investment has become a hot topic. On 2 February 2018, the HKCTU hosted a discussion on “Chinese investments in Africa”, invited Ms Daisy Chan, who got her master's degree in international political economy of the University of Warwick; Mr Fredrik Fan, who got his master's degree in labour policies and globalization of University of Kassel, as speakers. The two speakers shared two case studies of China's overseas investment, to outline the behavioursof Chinese enterprises in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Breakthrough of the Saipan Industrial Action
US Labour Department's Intervention led to Four Contractors Repaying USD 14 million Compensation

In March 2017, a worker fell from and died in a construction site of a casino on Saipan Island, a project invested by Hong Kong listed company Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd (HKEx stock code: 1076).  The investigation conducted by the FBI confirmed that the contractors had employed a large number of illegal workers from China. Moreover, the four contractors, namely Chinese state-owned Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited, Nanjing Beilida New Material System Engineering, Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration and Sino Great Wall Co., were found to owe workers their wages, fail to provide labour insurance, illegally withhold workers' passports and violate other labour legislations. An industrial action was triggered and workers demanded their missing wages and legal compensation. After a year of tug of war, finally a breakthrough takes place.

We the Workers
Getting to know the labour activists

What is your first thought when you think of "labour movement"? Scenes of workers in strike, organizations holding banners in front of corporates' or government headquarters? News of workers' leaders being attacked, detained and prosecuted? We know indeed very little about labour movement, workers' organizers' life and daily challenges, apart from some short scenes of their struggles and demands broadcast in the news. “We the Workers”, a documentary documents labour activists in China, their living and working conditions between 2009 and 2015, to tell us more about labour movement in China.

The future of labour NGOs?
A Response to Two Mindsets

On 3 December 2015, seven leaders of labour NGOs in Guangzhou were detained and four of them faced subsequent criminal prosecutions. Most of the affected NGOs were prominently active in assisting workers' collective struggles, pushing for collective bargaining between 2012 and 2015. Labour lawyers and some academics called this new type of NGOs as “movement-oriented NGOs”, in order to distinguish them from the social service-oriented NGOs and legal right-oriented NGOs. They also pointed out that movement-oriented NGOs would gradually help stimulate workers' needs. However, by the time research papers on movement-oriented NGOs were published in 2017, these NGOs either cease to exist or operate due to the crackdown in late 2015. Thus, among the labour rights supporters, some started to negate the role of labour NGOs. In this article, the author urges the Chinese labour rights supporters in China and overseas to give up on their polarizing opinions and objectively analyses the current causes and opportunities, so as to pursuit the goal of social justice determinately.