CLW Labor News Brief for June 2015

 Chinese Tesco Workers Protesting Deteriorating Pay and Benefits (Photo Credit: Sina Weibo
Factories That Use Child Labor Illegally Will be Fined 5,000 RMB ($806) Per Person Per Month LINK
(Yangcheng Evening News, 6/10/2015)Summer has arrived, and factories that use child labor illegally during this period will be punished severely. On June 9, the reporters of Yangcheng Evening News learned from the Human Resources Department of Houjie Township that it was initiating a three-month investigative action on summer student internships and risk resolution. If a child worker is found, factories will be fined 5,000 RMB ($806) per person per month.

Can “Death by Overwork” be Counted as an Occupational Disease? LINK

(China Social Sciences Network, 6/10/2015)Recently, the Contents of Occupational Hazards by Category (draft) was released to solicit public opinion. The draft of the occupational hazards reclassified the factors contributing to occupational diseases from 10 categories to six categories, including dust, chemicals, physical, radiation, biological, and other factors. The new document enhances the detail of occupational disease risk factors from the original 133 types to 460 types. However, we note that in these revisions, “death by overwork”, which has raised substantial social concern, has still not been included.


Equality in Wage Negotiation Unites Employees’ Motivation LINK

(Guangxi Daily, 6/11/2015) Wages involve with the fundamental interests of workers and are a crucial part of the harmony and stability of labor relations. The establishment of a comprehensive, full and effective a collective wage negotiation mechanism in the form of law, will bring a win-win situation for workers, businesses and the government. How to promote collective wage negotiations according to the law and achieve a mutual, win-win scenario for employees and business? The Autonomous Region’s People’s Political Consultative Conference cares about this important issue, and the “Regulations on Guangxi Zhuang People Autonomous Region Enterprise Collective Wage Negotiations (draft)” is the highlight of this year’s legislative consultation.

Second Ruling Upholds the Case of Tianyuan’s Wage Arrears LINK

(Southern Daily, 6/8/2015) On July 29, 2013, the boss of Huizhou Tianyuan Electronics Ltd., Wu Hong, abandoned the factory and fled to Malaysia with his wife and daughter, leaving more than 700 employees demanding unpaid compensation, blocking the road, and creating social instability. After the incident occurred, the Huinan Management Committee paid the employees around 5.45 million RMB in owed wages. On December 15, 2014, the Huicheng District Court sentenced Wu Hong to five years and six months of imprisonment and a fine of 110 thousand RMB ($17,750) for his refusal to pay the labor remuneration.

Bringing Machinery into Dongguan Plants Leads to Management Changes, Skilled Workers More in Need LINK

(Dongguan Sunshine Network, 6/9/2015) Capital is elated over the new economic wave of “machine substitution”. But when we return to the starting point of this elation, factories face repeated challenges in the process of automation. Production automation requires that workers on the assembly line learn to interact with new machines. As soon as the material feeding or reserves are unable to keep up with the speed of the machine, the machine must be halted.

Three 17-year-old Female Students owed Wages, Ate Bread and Cabbage for Two Months LINK

(People’s Daily, 6/10/2015) According to reports, these three people no longer received any wages beginning in February this year. According to a previous verbal agreement, the company in question should pay them four months’ wages, totaling 9,400 RMB ($1,516) per person. In addition to these three young women, another two employees, one senior female cleaner and an engineer, also received nothing. The three young women never confessed the truth to their families in order to keep them from worrying. Thus, in order to live, they had to borrow money from the people they knew. Living frugally, the young women decided to only eat lunch every day in the school cafeteria close to the company, and the lunch only included bread or cabbage.

In China, Walmart Is Unionized, But Workers Have No Power on the Job LINK

(InTheseTimes, 6/25/2015) Two union experts spoke about how retail workers’ basic collective bargaining rights are denied by Walmart in China. Walmart has formed unions to meet Chinese government demands. However, these unions are employer-dominated instead of independently controlled by workers. As a result, in China, Walmart workers’ basic rights are not guaranteed at all.

Women’s Rights Group Says It Has Been Forced to Close After Pressure from Chinese Authorities LINK

(U.S.News, 6/05/2015) Weizhiming, a women’s rights group based in Hangzhou, China, has been forced to close in June. Weizhiming has campaigned against discrimination in the labor market, violence against women and sexual harassment on public transport. The founder of this group was detained with four other activists in March and April for 37 days, and later released without any formal charges. After being released, she was forced to shut down the center of the group due to the ‘mounting pressure’ from Chinese authorities and an inability to afford working on projects.

Workers in China’s Tesco-Linked Supermarket Chain Strike for ‘Fair Treatment’ LINK

(RadioFreeAsia, 6/12/2015) Workers of a supermarket, once owned by U.K. retail giant Tesco in southern China, went on strike for ‘fair treatment’ earlier this month. Tesco was renamed LeGou, a joint venture in which Tesco still holds a stake among other Chinese investors. The workers went on strike to protest deteriorating pay and benefits after the supermarket became a joint venture in May 2014.


Dispatch Worker in Yingdong Encounters Unfortunate Incident During Commute LINK

(Fuyang East News, 6/11/2015) After Ying Zhao, a dispatch worker, died in a car accident on his way to work, the incident was designated as a work-related incident. However both of the employers implicated denied liability for the worker’s death. Recently, the Yingdong Local Court settled this labor dispute with a decision that the employer, Guyang City Labor Dispatch Company A, must compensate the victim’s relatives with a one-time payment and funeral subsidy that together total 510 thousand RMB ($82,000). The other employer, Anhui Chemical Group B, is jointly responsible for monetary compensation.

Do Not Treat Interns as Cheap Labor LINK

(Guangming Web, 06/12/2015) Recently, students in Guangxi Mechanical and Electrical Engineering School complained that they had to go to work in workshops run by their schools and help manufacture electronic products. They worked 10 hours a day and were not permitted to leave until the work was done. For a day of work each student only received eight RMB ($1.29), and they would not receive their diploma if they were absent from work. The school claimed that the school-enterprise cooperation is the integration of production with teaching: “Students can develop comprehensive skills through practice.”


“Working Boss” Reveals the Secret of Sweatshops LINK

(Qilu Evening News, 06/12/2015) The movie “Working Boss” is focused on the survival of businesses in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone 30 years after China’s Reform and Opening. Tang Yan, a reporter, sneaked inside a factory for the sake of exposing the inner secrets of a “sweatshop”. This story, which touches on factory owners, undercover reporters, and migrant workers who have left their homes, tells an interesting tale during a special era.


When Employees Voluntarily Turn Down Social Insurance, Who is Responsible in the Case of Injury? LINK

(Southern Daily, 6/12/2015) A’Wei was injured in a traffic accident, which was recognized as a work-related injury by the Longmen County Department of Human Resources and Social Security. Wei requested his employer pay compensation for the injury. But the company refused to compensate and appealed to the court because Wei had signed an agreement to drop his right to social insurances when he entered the company. Recently, the Yonghan Courtroom of Longmen County Court has made a judgement on the case, ruling that the company should compensate for all Wei’s losses according to work injury insurance.

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