China Labour Quarterly Issue 7

Who stole Shenzhen workers’ pension? 

A pension insurance system riddled with problems. 

In April 2014, 48,000 workers launched a strike at Yue Yuen Shoe Factory, located in Dongguan City, over underpayment of the social security premium, it was the largest strike in China in recent years. Recent research on pension insurance shows that nearly 80% of the enterprises in Shenzhen are violating the law as a "common practise". While the bosses try to ignore these workers, they began to swtich to collective action to fight for their rights.

Expert's views

Who is responsible for the enormous underpayment of pension insurance premiums? 

Chu Kong-wai

Labour Education and Service Network

In April 2014, tens of thousands of workers in Yue Yuen Shoe Factory launched a strike, which was closely followed by both domestic media and the international community. The conflict broke out due to Yue Yuen's underpayment of the social insurance premium, as workers realized that after enduring a dozen years of hardship in the workplace, they would only be entitled to a pension of a few hundred Yuan, anger was provoked among the workers.

Sectoral Report

Kunshan blast exposes OSH concerns

A tragedy triggered by dust

On 2 August 2014, an explosion took place at Zhongrong Metal Production Company (hereafter Zhongrong Co.) in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province. 75 workers were killed and 185 were injured. The blastwas triggered by a spark that had ignited a dust-filled room, it shows that local government has failed to keep work safety intact.

News of the Labour Movement in China

Betrayed by a state-owned enterprise

Ex-employees protested at China Construction Bank's general meeting of shareholders in Hong Kong

On 29 June 2014, at its shareholders' general meeting in Hong Kong, China Construction Bank's chairman, Wang Hongzhang, was being asked “why did the bank unlawfully retrench and buy-out its workers?” Nobody answered this question at the meeting. When Wang stepped out of the meeting room, he was surrounded by a group of former employees who demanded him to explain what right he had to deprive former employees, who were also shareholders, the right to attend the main meeting.   

News of the Labour Movement in China

After more than one year of wrongful detention, worker Wu Guijun won his appeal and received compensation

Retaliated against for trying to defend labour rights 

In early May 2013, Shenzhen Diweixin Product Factory relocated its plant without paying financial compensation to workers, as required by law. Subsequently, a strike lasting for more than two months broke out and one of the workers' representatives, Wu Guijun, was detained at a protest. After months of detention, he was then charged with “gathering crowds to disrupt traffic order”. Without any conviction, he was detained for over one year.

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HKCTU action updates

Grosby Footwear

Protest against Six Major Chambers of Commerce

Some 30 members of HKCTU and several labour organizations protested on the morning of 18 July 2014 at the Asia-Pacific merchandising department of Marks & Spencer (hereafter M&S), a major British multinational retailer. The protest was triggered by a suicide that was believed to be caused by the unjust dismissal of Zhou Jianrong, 50, on 17 July 2014. He jumped from a height after being dismissed by Grosby Footwear (Shenzhen) Ltd., a major supplier of M&S, for her participation in a strike.

Six major chambers of commerce in Hong Kong released a statement in a newspaper in May 2014, to jointly obstruct Guangdong Province’s ongoing lawmaking effort regarding “collective negotiation” and the recognition of workers' rights to collective bargaining. On 6 June 2014, HKCTU and other labour groups which are concerned about workers' rights in China, protested at the Annual General Meeting of one of the six signatories. HKCTU criticized the Hong Kong business groups for being entirely self-centered and failing to engage in collective negotiation to resolve labour conflicts.