China

The ITUC does not have an affiliate in China.

In practice

Freedom of association / Right to organise

Restrictions on workers' right to form and join organizations of their own choosing:

Official union support for workers’ grievances
30-11-2010

The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) has not been involved in a majority of disputes and collective actions in the major manufacturing zones where most private business is located and where most of the workers are internal migrant workers. Only some workers know of the existence of trade unions in their enterprises, and very few would seek assistance from the trade union in cases of rights abuse. This lack of assistance is one of the most important factors behind the rise of civil society labour groups providing legal and other services for mainly migrant (internal) workers. This has led some ACFTU branches to offer legal-aid-related services while continuing to avoid direct engagement in workers’ collective disputes and protests at the plant level.

Chinese workers overseas - no freedom of association
31-12-2010

Reports continue of poor working conditions, including the denial of basic trade union rights and freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
in Chinese-owned enterprises, including major state- owned companies. This is of particular concern in the extractive industry and large construction projects in countries such as in Africa but also those in the Middle East. Chinese workers who complain of poor conditions have faced repercussions on their return to China.

Role of the official Chinese trade union
31-12-2010

The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is the sole trade union body allowed to exist. Its role and the supervision of higher level branches over lower level branches was strengthened in the 2008 legislation, especially in resolving labour issues and helping promote the nationwide development of a “harmonious society” and a “harmonious workplace”. It works primarily on wage arrear campaigns, membership drives, pushing for wage increases, philanthropic work and encouraging collective consultation with employers and within industrial sectors.

The ACFTU played a significant role in the drafting of the 2008 Labour Contract Law and in implementing regulations, and it continues to focus its efforts on organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. branches in private companies and Asian multinationals.

Restrictions on trade unions' right to organize their administration:

Restrictions on trade union elections and collective bargaining
31-01-2012

Although the Trade Union Law states that trade union officers at each level should be elected, most officials are appointed. In addition, elected candidates are subject to approval by the provincial-level All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) committees.

Many provinces have developed, or are in the process of developing, regulations concerning the obligation to hold trade union elections as stipulated in the Trade Union Law and increasingly by workers. In the wake of its inaction during the strikes at Honda in 2010, the union there agreed to hold elections directly for its enterprise officials as demanded by workers. Despite the potential repercussions there are some grassroots enterprise unions formed by the workers themselves through the use of official factory elections which are of some benefit to the workers. The adoption of collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
to resolve disputes has recently seen a minimal increase. In April, it was reported that a new union established by and for migrant workers in Tianjin managed to negotiate a collective agreement on pay rises, working conditions and working hours with a local labour supply agency.

Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office:

60 million agency workers excluded
16-08-2013

All the local wage negotiation legislation excludes agency workers. The only exception is Wuxi city in Jiangsu province, which allows the agency workers to take part in the collective negotiation with the company where they work. Although there is no provision barring agency workers from joining a trade union in Chinese law, they are allowed to join the trade union only in the agency company as stated in the ACFTU Directive passed in 2009.

Trade union discrimination:

Five workers at the US-owned company “International
18-05-2014

Five workers at the US-owned company “International Paper” were dismissed after they had taken part in a two-day strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
on 19-20 February 2013 against unequal remuneration and bonuses. The company argued workers did not observe their obligations when they returned to work on 21 February 2013. While the arbitration arbitration A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.

See conciliation, mediation
court ruled that their dismissal was illegal, the company was not condemned to any penalty and was not ordered to reinstate workers. This case is emblematic of how the lack of effective legal remedies against anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

is exposing workers to abuses by employers.

Dismissal of Strikers is not deemed an Unfair Labour Practice in China
24-08-2012

On 28 December 2011, all the workers from Shihe Wood (Shanghai) staged a three-day strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to demand that management negotiate a settlement plan for the layoffs. The management put up a warning on 29 and 30 December requesting that workers return to work and subsequently fired 400 workers. Some of them took the company to court for illegal dismissal demanding compensation. Yuan, one of the plaintiffs, lost the case in the Court of First Instance and then in the intermediate court on 24 August 2012. Yuan was condemned for having broken company rules prohibiting absenteeism for three days, as well as participating in an illegal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and inciting others to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Others restrictions:

Thousands of workers, who have been retrenched by
18-05-2014

Thousands of workers, who have been retrenched by the China Construction Bank and other commercial banks ten years ago, were protesting their situation in May and July 2013. On 22 July, the protest was violently repressed and a hundred of protesters were sent to Majialou and Jiujingzhuang blackjails, from which they were released after having staged a hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. However, workers have continued to seek their rights through protests in October 2013, even though the government tries to silence workers through various forms of abuses such as forced labour and illegal detentions in disguised camps.

About 160 self-employed taxi drivers from...
18-05-2014

About 160 self-employed taxi drivers from Shuangliu county announced a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
on 28 January 2013. Workers wanted to protest against irregular licence renewal fees and the restructuring of the self-employed taxi drivers into taxi companies. However, about 100 workers were stopped by force from reaching Beijing and sent back to Shuangliu by force. They were blocked by the county government officials before arriving Beijing and brought back to the county under administrative detention. The workers petitioned to the Transportation Ministry in Beijing in April 2013. Three workers are still in custody and are charged for illegal assembly. Their application for bail was denied and hearings have been postponed without justification. The case is still pending before the courts.

Twelve security workers were prosecuted on...
18-05-2014

Twelve security workers were prosecuted on charges of illegal assembly and disruption of the public order after a protest at the First Hospital of Chinese Medical University of Guangzhou city on 20 August 2013. Workers were demanding social security protection for agency workers. The hearing for the case was delayed for more than seven months.

Criminal charges against union leaders
23-05-2013

Workers at the Diweixin Product Factory in Shenzhen (southern China) sought negotiations earlier this year in response to concerns about production cutbacks and apparent preparations for relocation to another site in the Chinese interior. However, management refused to disclose any information and to enter into negotiations. On 7 May 2013, workers downed tools and petitioned the local government to intervene. Police responded by arresting and detaining 20 workers on 23 May 2013. Wu Guijun, one of the representatives during the negotiations, was charged for “assembling a crowd to disturb social order”.

Attempts to establish independent trade unions repressed
30-11-2010

No independent trade unions are allowed. Organisers of workers’ groups or protests are often arrested, and some are sentenced to terms of imprisonment (officially called “reform through labour”, or “lao gai”) after criminal trials that fall well short of international standards. Others can be assigned to terms of “re-education through labour”, an administrative process which bypasses the few safeguards of the criminal justice system. Strikers often are detained for a few days or weeks to avoid any risk of martyrdom for long- term detainees. The fear of detention also makes negotiations between workers’ representatives and the authorities and employers extremely difficult.
The continued use and abuse of extensive state secrets legislation including laws classifying labour-related statistics as state secrets means that labour activists can be charged with “disclosing state secrets” for their work.

Right to collective bargaining

Restrictions on the principle of free and voluntary bargaining:

Labour unrest at car plants
17-05-2010

Production lines were stopped in a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at the Foshan Honda plant in May. The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
led to Foshan Honda eventually offering 1,900 workers in Foshan a 24 to 32% pay raise. The strikers were prepared to accept an increase of their monthly wage by 800 Yuan and nothing less. After an initial strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
on 17 May Honda persuaded the workers to return to work the next day promising to consider the demands. However, when no deal had been struck by 21 May, the workers went back on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. Anticipating retaliation and no support from the official trade union, the two workers who led the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, Tan Guocheng and Xiao Lang, quit and left the workplace not long after the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The negotiation representatives elected by the workers were also subject to pressure from both management and the government. On 4 June, after negotiations involving the local government in Foshan and Japanese executives, Honda agreed to the large pay raise, though short of the workers’ demands.

In June some 1,500 workers at the Honda Lock factory in Guangdong disrupted production for a week over pay. The dispute was finally resolved with management agreeing to increase wages. Previous strikes at Guangqi Honda were also resolved. In July, strikes broke out at another Honda parts factory, Sumitec Co. in Foshan, after workers demanded higher pay rates which they had calculated after researching comparative rates in the region. They also asked the company to apologise over its threats to fire 90 workers involved in the complaint and to promise not to lay off any employees for the next two years.

Strikers were also calling for the election of workers’ own representatives and the re-election of trade union officials after the union had done nothing to support them, siding instead with management. With the intervention of the upper level trade union, re-elections of the trade union officers were held at the Foshan Honda plant after the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Hundreds of further strikes were reported during May, June and July in car manufacturing and electronics in the south but also in Shanghai and Tianjin, and included strikes at other Honda and Toyota factories.

Right to strike

Undue interference by authorities or employers during the course of a strike:

Strikes
30-11-2010

The number of strikes - both spontaneous and organised, but without the official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of the union - has continued to increase, especially among private enterprise workers. Privatisation and the ensuing redundancy it engenders is a major cause of labour unrest for state-owned enterprise workers while low pay, unpaid wages and poor working conditions are among the largest causes of strikes in the private sector. Figures suggest that each day around 1,000 workers are involved in industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. in Guangdong Province alone.

Strikes and collective protests are often dispersed violently by armed police, and prominent strikers are picked up by the police and warned or charged with public order offences, traffic violations, breaking the law on parades and demonstrations, or more rarely serious political charges. Companies regularly dismiss and blacklist workers who have led or participated in strikes. In some instances, companies also hire men to beat and threaten workers protesting missing wages or taking other forms of industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. , often with deadly results.

The increasingly commonplace nature of strikes has meant that despite the ambiguity of their legal position, some local authorities have been less hostile towards strikes, and more strikes appear to be successful. In response to the labour unrest, there have also been increases to the minimum wage figures in many regions.

Undermining of the recourse to strike actions or their effectiveness:

In the Yntai Dongxing Pipeline case, management,
18-05-2014

In the Yntai Dongxing Pipeline case, management, together with the ACFTU (All-China Federation of Trade Unions), by-passed the decision of union members concerning wage increases and the election of a local union local union A local branch of a higher-level trade union such as a national union. chairperson. The strikes that were about to follow as a reaction were undermined when workers were threatened to be dismissed on 5 August 2013.

Coercing strikers to return to work
30-10-2012

Flextronics’s factory in Shenzhen demanded that strikers sign a no-strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
agreement before they were allowed to return to work. The management posted a warning letter on 30 October 2012 declaring that they would dismiss all workers who refused to return to work on 31 October 2012 for violating the company code and the Labour Law and offering a cash reward of RMB 200 to those who had not participated in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Strikes
30-11-2010

The number of strikes - both spontaneous and organised, but without the official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of the union - has continued to increase, especially among private enterprise workers. Privatisation and the ensuing redundancy it engenders is a major cause of labour unrest for state-owned enterprise workers while low pay, unpaid wages and poor working conditions are among the largest causes of strikes in the private sector. Figures suggest that each day around 1,000 workers are involved in industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. in Guangdong Province alone.

Strikes and collective protests are often dispersed violently by armed police, and prominent strikers are picked up by the police and warned or charged with public order offences, traffic violations, breaking the law on parades and demonstrations, or more rarely serious political charges. Companies regularly dismiss and blacklist workers who have led or participated in strikes. In some instances, companies also hire men to beat and threaten workers protesting missing wages or taking other forms of industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. , often with deadly results.

The increasingly commonplace nature of strikes has meant that despite the ambiguity of their legal position, some local authorities have been less hostile towards strikes, and more strikes appear to be successful. In response to the labour unrest, there have also been increases to the minimum wage figures in many regions.

More strikes, and more violence and criminal charges
31-12-2010

The number of strikes - both spontaneous and planned, but without the official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of the union - has continued to increase, especially among private enterprise workers. Privatisation and the ensuing redundancy it engenders is a major cause of labour unrest for state-owned enterprise workers while low pay, unpaid wages and poor working conditions are among the largest causes of strikes in the private sector. Figures suggest that each day around 1.000 workers are involved in industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. in Guangdong Province alone.

Strikes and collective protests are often dispersed violently by armed police, and prominent strikers are picked up by the police and warned or charged with public order offences, traffic violations, breaking the law on parades and demonstrations, or more rarely serious political charges. Companies regularly dismiss and blacklist workers who have led or participated in strikes. In some instances, companies also hire men to beat and threaten workers protesting missing wages or taking other forms of industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. , often with deadly results. Strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
organisers and independent labour activists also face the administration threat of re-education through labour. Though in principle limited to three years, in practice these periods of forced labour can be extended without recourse to the criminal justice system.

The increasingly commonplace nature of strikes has meant that despite the ambiguity of their legal position, some local authorities have been less hostile towards strikes, and more strikes appear to be successful. In response to the labour unrest, there have also been increases to the minimum wage figures in many regions.

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