China - Restrictions on trade union elections and collective bargaining (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 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.

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