70% rise of industrial actions in Hong Kong invested enterprises in China Missing social security insurance and severance compensation as major causes

“Missing social security funds initiating a new wave of labour movement: Violent suppression intensified” is the theme of the “Investigative Report on Labour Rights in Hong Kong Enterprises in China 2014-2015”. On 11 August 2015, the HKCTU released this report, exposing the common labour violations of Hong Kong suppliers in China, which produce for internationally known brands, such as Marks & Spencer, Disney, UNIQLO and etc.

Compared with the previous year, there is a 70% growth of recorded collective labour actions, nearly 90% involved strikes. It is estimated that 150, 000 workers were affected and about 85% of the industrial actions were caused by violations of China’s labour law. Over 30% of the involved enterprises are owned by or supply for Hong Kong listed companies. The cases documented, show that during the labour conflicts, the Hong Kong suppliers all use police to “resolve problems”, namely suppressing workers. Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of the HKCTU described it as a “stability before rights” approach of Xi Jinping. Thus, it is clear that “defending workers’ rights is the way out for Chinese workers”, to uphold its rule of law is a priority for Chinese workers.

The HKCTU urges the international brands to comply with international conventions to respect fundamental labour rights, especially freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. Multinational corporate should not allow suppliers to replace collective bargaining rights with telephone hotlines or individual meetings with workers. The HKCTU also calls the Hong Kong Government and Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to regulate Hong Kong enterprises regarding their labour practice in China. They should exercise disciplinary measures, such as public condemnation,  revocation or suspension of license or fining, when appropriate. The Government and SFC should take OECD’s "Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises" as a reference, to develop guidelines on labour rights and to monitor the Hong Kong entrepreneurs to respect workers’ rights.