ILO Core Conventions Ratified: Not a member state
Legislative reforms have facilitated the procedures for calling a strike, while a proposed amendment to the Trade Unions Law was criticised by the unions. Several categories of workers, including teachers, are still denied the right to form a trade union.
Trade union rights in law
Areas of concern exist in the labour law despite basic trade union rights being guaranteed. The right to organise is generally protected in law. However, a number of workers, including fire-fighters and medical personnel, are denied that right, and civil servants and teachers may only form associations. Although migrant workers can join trade unions, only citizens may hold leadership positions. Furthermore, the Labour Union Law authorises the government to interfere directly in the internal affairs of trade unions. In June, the Settlement of Labor-Management Dispute Act was amended to significantly strengthen the right to strike. The procedures for calling a strike, including the voting system, were facilitated, and the conditions and areas under which a strike can be called were clearly specified. While strikes are not allowed in the case of "rights items", which are defined as items already agreed upon e.g. in collective agreements, the Act provides for judicial procedures to resolve such disputes whereas previously only mediation was available.
In April 2009, an amendment to the Trade Unions Law was proposed by the Executive to the Legislative. Some provisions are considered by the Chinese Federation of Labour (CFL) to be detrimental to trade union rights such as the possibility for public authorities to disband trade unions in certain cases such as membership decrease.
Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009
Collective bargaining limited: The number of workers covered by collective agreements is limited. Collective bargaining mostly takes place in large companies.
Fears over proposed amendment to law: On 30 December several hundred members of 10 trade unions came out onto the streets to protest at a bill to amend the law on trade unions. The proposed amendment would give the government the authority to disband unions. Four of the protest leaders were held for questioning after demonstrators threw cow dung at the police.
Disclaimer: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010