Tag Archives: Hong Kong

The impact of the Umbrella Movement on the labour movement in China and Hong Kong

One might say that the Umbrella Movement failed to achieve any concrete and immediate results, yet it has allowed many Hong Kongers, especially the younger generation, to become politically awakened. Furthermore, even though news has been blocked and distorted, it has still reached some in mainland China and could have far-reaching impact in future.

Source: en.hkctu.org.hk

See on Scoop.itAsian Labour Update

More than half of female employees in the service industry in Hong Kong have been sexually harassed

The Women Affairs Committee of the HKCTU released a report on 8 March, the International Women’s Day, stating that nearly 60% of female employees in the service sector had been sexually harassed at work. It happened most frequently in three industries, namely property management, airlines and retailing. Nearly 70% of interviewees said that their workplaces have no (32%) or are not aware of (36%) any follow up mechanisms of sexual harassment complaints. As a result, only 15% of the victims reported their cases to the employers.

Source: en.hkctu.org.hk

See on Scoop.itAsian Labour Update

Preliminary Report on China’s going Global Strategy: A Labour, Environment, and Hong Kong Perspective

Capital Mobility Research Paper Series No 3

By Au Loong Yu and Kevin Li (Globalization Monitor)

Globalization Monitor, Hong KongSince the turn of the century Chinahas already become a significant player of out-flowing FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investment) and an international world lender. This is against the background of China’s proclamation of seeking a ‘peaceful rise’. It is followed by more than 20 years of huge FDI inflow, which for many years was second only to the USA and then for three consecutive years, beginning from 2002, surpassed it.

For some years the think tanks of the Chinese government saw the relationship between Yinjinlai, literally meaning ‘inviting in’ (inflow FDI),and Zouchuqu, or ‘going global’ (outflow FDI), as supplementary to the course of modernization. According to this discourse, in the first phase of modernization, a country tends to accept more inflow FDI, without, the surplus capital for export. Then the inflow FDI, after interacting with the domestic market, necessarily modernizes the country to a point where it is both possible and necessary for the country to build its own TNCs (Transnational Corporations) and conduct overseas investment.

In 2004 the head of the Research Centre for the study of TNCs, Wang Zhile, edited a report on China’s TNCs with funding from the state. The Research Centre is a branch of the Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce. Wang noted that

“Both the ‘inviting in’ and ‘going global’ strategies are ways to integrate into economic globalization. ‘Inviting in’ is the base for ‘going global’, and ‘going global’ is the necessary result of ‘inviting in’. The former strategy enables our country to get necessary economic resources like capital, technology and raw materials, but the initiative does not lie in the hands of our corporations. In fact, China’s accession to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) not only implies that she has domestic obligations to fulfil, but also that she is entitled to her legitimate rights beyond China. Only when we enhance our strategy of ‘going global’, of trans-national operation, can we balance our obligation with our rights’

Another professor from the think tank further elaborates the relations between ‘going global’ and the WTO:

“Now that China has become a WTO member state, we on the one hand need to fulfil our domestic obligations, while on the other we can also enjoy the privilege of national treatment (under WTO terms) afforded to Chinese enterprises, when they enter the markets of WTO member states.”

Chinabegan her overseas investment in 1980 following the course of market reforms that were kick started in 1979. Generally we can divide the last 28 years into three periods.

The preparatory phase: 1979-1991

Although the amount of over seas investment in this period is small, it helped Chinese firms to accumulate the necessary experiences and to cultivate partnerships and contacts for more overseas investment in the following years. In this period the place for overseas investment was first and foremost Hong Kong.

The second phase: 1992-1998

Deng Xiaoping’s tour to the South marked his attack on the ‘Conservative’ and the inauguration of full scale integration to global capitalism. It also began a period when China’s overseas investment increased dramatically. Again HK remained the most important destination, although it also started to diversify.

The third period: 1999- present

In early 1999 the State Department adopted a new document to promote overseas investment with special emphasis on processing industry. In 2001 Premier Zhu, in his policy address to the People’s Congress, officially used the term “going global” strategy for Chinese firms. In this period there is not only a dramatic increase of out flowing FDI, but also FPI(Foreign Portfolio Investment), including financial investment and international lending.

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ATNC & ANROEV Letter of Condemnation of Hong Kong Employers Lobbying Against Workplace Collective Wage Negotiation in China..

Attention:

Mr. Anthony Wu,
Chairman Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
22/F United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong
Email chamber@chamber.org.hk

Dr. Jonathan Choi Koon-shum,
Chairman The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce
4/F., 24-25 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
Email cgcc@cgcc.org.hk

Dr. David Y K Wong,
JP, President The Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong CMA Building,
64-66 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong Email: info@cma.org.hk

Mr. Cliff Sun,
Executive Director Federation of Hong Kong Industries
31/F, Billion Plaza, 8 Cheung Yue Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
Email: fhki@fhki.org.hk

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