One Year Anniversary of the Yue Yuen Workers’ Strike: Conditions and Voices of Workers

April 14, 2015 was the one-year anniversary of the mass strike by the workers at Yue Yuen,a footwear manufacturer. On April 14, 2014, all 50,000 workers from the Yue Yuen factories went on strike to demand that the management make up for the shortage in its contributions to their social insurance, which it had failed to pay in full.  At the beginning, there were only 1,000 workers. A few days later, all 50,000 workers from the 6 plants owned by the company in Dongguan joined the strike. Labour groups in Hong Kong (including HKCTU), the USA, Australia and the UK demonstrated at offices and shops of Yue Yuen’s clients, which are branded sportswear companies. In the end, the management agreed to pay the arrears to its contribution to workers social insurance and housing fund. The management also promised to give workers an additional 230 yuan monthly living allowance. Has the management kept its promise? Are the workers satisfied? Let’s have a look at Qinyue’s survey published on “Voice of the Hammer” on Weixin, an online forum in mainland China.

The Cause of the Strike—the Social Insurance and Labour Contract Pitfall

Photos of Yue Yuen strike.

Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. is the largest footwear manufacturer in the world. Its clients include most branded sportswear companies, such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok. Yue Yuen’s net profit in 2013 was more than HK$ 3.3 billion. However, since the company established its plants in Dongguan in 1988, it has never abided by the law and has never paid the full sum of social insurance calculated on the basis of workers’ wages. Neither has it contributed to their housing fund. Moreover, since 2006, Yue Yuen has changed the name of its factories as well as the name of the persons to which the factories are registered. Despite this, the factories’ old names are still used in labour contracts. It is therefore doubtful whether these labour contracts are legal.

Social Insurance Contribution Arrears

Legal Requirement

Yue Yuen’s Offences

 

Social insurance covers five types of insurance, including pension, medical expenses, work-related injury compensation, maternity and unemployment payment. It is stipulated in the laws of Guangdong Province that employers should contribute 29.2% and the employees should contribute 11% to workers’ social insurance.

 

 

 

Workers are registered as “temporary workers”.
 

 

 

 

For example, the company’s payment should be 876 yuan if the monthly income of a worker is 3,000 yuan.
 

 

The contribution was calculated using worker’s basic income, which was 1,810 yuan, as the base. As a result, the company paid only 528.52 yuan, i.e. a shortfall of 347.48 yuan each month.

The One-Year Anniversary of the Strike—

Payment of Social Insurance Contribution Arrears