China Labour Quarterly Issue 10

UNIQLO’s neglect of its supplier’s labour exploitation
Difficulties and reflections on the Artigas workers’ collection actions

In recent years, Lever Style Inc., the Hong Kong-based parent company of Artigas Clothing & Leatherwear Factory and its Japanese buyer UNIQLO have been enjoying a rapid rise in their turnover. Their workers, who have been treated as disposable and have been left with nothing, have not benefit from this prosperity however. During the process of factory relocation and merger, senior workers at Artigas, who had worked for decades at the factory and made garments for UNIQLO and other brands, were told that they would not be entitled to pension and severance compensation. Artigas workers have been the most resilient workers in defending their rights.


News of the Labour Movement in China

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. Read more


News of the Labour Movement in China

Automobile workers’ collective actions and development of grassroots unions:
a case study of ST Auto Parts Factory

ST Auto Parts Factory (hereafter: ST Factory) is jointly-owned by Japanese and Taiwanese investors and is one of the very few Chinese factories where direct elections of its enterprise union have successfully been conducted. ST Factory employs 536 workers, producing auto springs and shake absorbers for Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Since 2010, two strikes have broken out in ST Factory, with workers demanding to increase their wages and receive their annual bonuses. In 2011, its union started to run democratic elections. The key to ST workers’ success is linked to the automobile industry’s characteristics. However, one should not overlook how they have also have encountered pressure from the factory management and the upper level union. Read more


News of the Labour Movement in China

Why is being a “rights lawyer” a high-risk job?

Between 9 and 20 July 2015 alone, at least 235 lawyers in China were taken away by the police from their homes or offices. This wave of detention led to an international outcry and some 200 Chinese lawyers and citizens started a joint petition. They demanded that some one hundred policemen be held accountable for criminal offences such as “abuse of power, neglect of duty, defamation, disciplinary violations”. Director of Beijing Wutian Law Firm, Lawyer Cheng Hai, confirmed that he had taken part in the petition and that the following line from the petition summed up his view: “This is a crime massively violating the rights of Chinese lawyers and citizens. It will largely undermine rule of law in China and if no legal action is taken to stop it and hold the offenders criminally accountable, then “rule of law in China” will only become empty rhetoric.”


HKCTU Action Updates

Unions from Asian countries show support to independent union movement in China and Hong Kong

The HKCTU calls on international unions to keep their faith

The HKCTU attended the International Trade Union Confederation’s Asia Pacific (hereafter: ITUC-AP) Regional General Council and proposed a resolution on China. The resolution urged the international unions to support Chinese workers’ struggles in improving labour conditions and trade union rights, to demand the Chinese Government release detained labour activists immediately and to genuinely implement all core labour standards as stated in the ILO conventions. Regarding Hong Kong, the General Council fully supported the Hong Kong trade unions’ quest for universal, fair and democratic elections. It also condemned the Hong Kong SAR Government in creating White Terror after the Umbrella Movement, by targeting activists, some of them unionists, with politically charged prosecutions.


HKCTU Action Updates

Global campaign to support Chinese workers’freedom of association and fight against violence

On the eve of the anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre, the HKCTU launched a series of campaigns calling on the Chinese Government to release detained labour activists and stop brutally repressing workers who are defending their rights.