ATNC & ANROEV Letter of Condemnation of Hong Kong Employers Lobbying Against Workplace Collective Wage Negotiation in China..
Mr. Anthony Wu,
Chairman Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
22/F United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong
Dr. Jonathan Choi Koon-shum,
Chairman The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce
4/F., 24-25 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
Dr. David Y K Wong,
JP, President The Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong CMA Building,
64-66 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Cliff Sun,
Executive Director Federation of Hong Kong Industries
31/F, Billion Plaza, 8 Cheung Yue Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
ATNC & ANROEV Letter of Condemnation of Hong Kong Employers’ Lobbying Against Workplace Collective Wage Negotiation in China and Labour Rights Violations in Asia
To the leaders of Hong Kong’s main employers’ federations, trade associations and chambers of commerce:
The ATNC Network (Asian Trans-National Corporation Monitoring Network) and ANROEV (Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims), representing more than 50 labour groups, trade unions and activists from over 20 countries, have noticed the recent legislative initiatives in Guangdong Province in mainland China about setting up collective wage negotiation mechanisms in enterprises. These legislations are aimed at building a collective negotiation mechanism that sets workplace wages between employers and the Chinese trade union, the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).
We further have observed that the legislations have major limitations, firstly by mandating the right to collective bargaining with the employers to the ACFTU; and secondly allowing the government a greater degree of control over the spontaneous workers’ strikes. Nevertheless, the recent legislations should be recognized as the result of workers’ struggles which have successfully pressured the government to address the low wage regimes which is widespread in the province; and the failure of the official trade union to represent workers in the workplace, thereby driving the latter to resorting to industrial actions to protest against the low wages.
The ATNC Network and ANROEV condemn the high profile protests of the Hong Kong employers and trade associations and their lobbying against the collective negotiation on wages in China. In Asia, the profit accumulation of Hong Kong companies has been based on exactly the same measures of founding a low wage regime based on violations of the right of workers to collective bargaining enshrined in the local and international labour standards such as the International Labour Convention 98; and last but not least, by the intentional busting of active, independent trade unions.
Hong Kong companies have been directly implicated in:
Occupational deaths of 134 female workers in the industrial fire of the supplier factory of Chicco in Shenzhen China in 1993; and 188 deaths and over 500 injuries of Kader toy factory in Thailand in 1993.
Dismissals of 800 redundant workers in the mainland subsidiary factory of Hong Kong based garment retail company Bossini in 2006.
Factory closure of Gina Form, a subsidiary of Hong Kong owned Clover Group in Thailand and dismissals of 1300 workers.
Oppression of workers’ strikes and independent trade union organizing in Winner Garment and River Rich in Cambodia in October 2006 resulting in 117 workers being laid off, and reinstatement of only 87 of them in 2007 after vigorous international campaign and protests against the company.
At least 200 workers employed in the Hong Kong-owned jewellery and gemstone factories located in Shenzhen, Huizhou and Haifeng city, have been diagnosed with silicosis since 2001. Other than violating the safety and health standards and causing lethal occupational diseases to the employees, the Hong Kong employers denied responsibility and compensation payments have been procrastinated at the expense of the lives of the workers and the livelihood of their families.
We strongly demand that the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Federation of Industries:
1. Stop the lobbying against collective wage negotiation in mainland China; respect the right of workers and trade unions to collective wage bargaining in Asia.
2. Stop busting independent trade unions in Asia and comply with the International Labour Convention 98 on collective bargaining.
We express our solidarity to workers and their struggles for the right to organize and fair wages in mainland China.
Asian Trans-National Corporation Monitoring Network (ATNC Network)
Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV)
28 October, 2010