China Labour Quarterly
While the whole world shops, who cares about those who deliver?
November is a global shopping carnival. The “Double 11” Shopping Festival in China is followed by the “Black Friday” shopping week towards the end of November. Despite the thrills and joys of shoppers and merchants, the issues of exploitation of delivery people are often overlooked. While freelancing in goods and food delivery is getting prevalent, there is an undertone of labour exploitation in the name of freedom and flexibility. Under an ambivalent Employer-employee relationship, courier workers all over the world are under risks like unstable income and lack of protection.
The new employment policy under the pandemic economy
In 2020, social activities, economic production and labour markets were paralyzed by Covid-19. In Hong Kong, the government introduced short-term relief measures to subsidize employers’ salary payments. However, there is almost no alternative to protect workers from being laid off. The economic and labour impact by the pandemic is global. Innovative and progressive labour policies were already being experimented and developed in different countries way before Covid-19.
Workers in China under COVID-19
The global Covid-19 pandemic has already disrupted the global economy and production order, while in China, where the pandemic first broke out, is not immune to such disruption. The unemployment rate in large cities announced by the government has risen by more than 15% since November 2019, until dropping to 5.7% in August this year. In April, China recorded a real GDP growth rate of only 3.2%, the slowest growth since 1992.
The Bubble Revolution in Chinese Football: Lives at the Bottom of the League
In November 2019, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao regained the Chinese Super Football League (hereinafter: CSL) and won the title 8 times in 9 years. It is estimated that each player in the team would receive a bonus of approximately RMB 1.5 million to 2 million. However, at the other end of the professional football hierarchy, players from Hunan Billows F.C., who are playing in the third and lowest tier professional football league, China League Two (hereinafter: League Two), were forced to take to the streets to defend their labour rights as they had not been paid for more than one year. Despite being professional footballer, the disparity in the treatment of players in different Chinese leagues is staggering.
Mission to Cambodia-a Country Fully Integrated by China
Due to geopolitical reasons, China has a very large influence on Cambodia historically. As China's economic might continue to strengthen, China's economic impact on Cambodia is also increasing. In recent years, the Chinese government has always stressed that Chinese investment is beneficial to local development in her official propaganda; however, the actual situation seen during our visit to Cambodia with the ITUC was quite different.
Persistence under the Political Winter: Xiangzi and Heart Sanitation
The founder of “Heart Sanitation”, Chen Weixiang (better known as Xiangzi), and two staff members were arrested by the Guangzhou Police on December 17, 2019. Friends of Xiang Zi released news on December 23 stating that they had been subjected to fifteenth days of "administrative detention" on charges of " Picking quarrels and provoking trouble." After the administrative detention period expired, Xiangzi was released on January 2, 2020.
China Labour Quarterly April 2019
Chinese enterprise Huawei Technology Co. was under fire since the arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian government and its lawsuit against the US government over the equipment ban some weeks ago. Meanwhile, the diplomatic crisis due to the arrest of Meng triggered a heated debate on whether Chinese-owned telecommunications companies are cybersecurity risks to the world. In recent years, Chinese-owned technology companies are expanding overseas. Large-scale mergers, investment and marketing that involved big amount of money have sparked a lot of controversies, as well as issues on labour abuses and exploitations.
China Labour Quarterly Issue 18
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.