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Labor NGOs in Guangdong Province

Jan 07, 2008

The last two CLNT postings were related to labor NGOs in Guangdong province. The first one was on how, with the assistance of these grassroots NGOs, workers sometimes are able to receive a large amount of unpaid wages or compensation for occupational injuries; the second article was on a vicious physical attack against the head of one of these NGOs. In this issue we have chosen two articles that provide a more detailed background on these NGOs to enable readers to gain a better grasp of what is happening in the province that contains the most export-oriented industry. We believe that the labor movement in Guangdong province has entered a new stage and is worth our close attention.

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Shenzhen Labor Activist Attacked

Dec 06, 2007

In this issue of China Labor News Translations we offer coverage of a savage attack on November 20 against grass-roots labor rights advocate Huang Qingnan, of the Dagongzhe Migrant Workers Center, in the Long’gang district of Shenzhen.

Here CLNT provides two Chinese articles not otherwise available in English.

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A new precedent: Shenzhen furniture factory worker wins two years overtime back pay

Nov 14, 2007

Chinese migrant workers being owed wages is a problem widely recognized in China. It is so common that we have inadvertently taken it for granted. CLNT is fortunate to have come across a recent case study that challenges the chronic underpayment of Chinese workers.

In this posting, CLNT has translated two articles that report on one worker named Hu’s fight to get back unpaid overtime wages through the court system: the first is a straight forward newspaper report on the case with a brief comment from a legal expert; the second is the worker’s own description of the process that was published in an NGO magazine four months later.

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Democratic Trade Union election in Reebok Supplier Factory: Five Year Update

Aug 25, 2007

Peter Lee, an independent labour researcher and activist in China’s Fujian province has provided us with a rare insight into the mid to long-term effects of so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects adopted by major Western brands in an attempt to improve working conditions in their supply factories. Lee’s is not the first critique of such CSR programs, but it is possibly the first to chart their mid- to long-term effects in China. Peter Lee’s fascinating report suggests that even the apparantly most progressive CSR programs do not create lasting change.

In November 2002, Reebok instigated democratic elections for a trade union in one of its shoe suppliers – the Shun Da Sporting Good Corporation (Shun Da) in Fuzhou, China.

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First KFC Trade Union Branch Established

Aug 13, 2007

In March this year KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut were discovered to be paying illegally low wages to their part-time and casual “work-study” students in Guangzhou City (see CLNT posting ‘Western Fast Food Chains’ violate minimum wage laws”). Since May, brief reports on the Chinese union successfully setting up unions in KFC stores (sometimes McDonald’s as well) began to appear in local newspapers. This article, “A Tough Context: Establishing the First KFC Trade Union Branch” is different from other reports. It contains unusual details of how the Shiyan City trade union in Hubei province went about organizing a small group of part-time KFC student workers to start a union.

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