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Shunda Factory’s Rigged Trade Union Election

CLNT has just secured a report from a production line worker, Worker Ye (a pseudonym) at the Shunda factory which was the subject of CLNT’s August 2007 posting, Democratic Trade Union Election in Reebok Supplier Factory: Five Year Update. Ye reports that the Shunda union re-election took place in October 2007 and that it was rigged. Candidates running for the union committee were overwhelmingly supervisors and managers, and the positions of trade union chair, deputy chair and the union office administrator (the only three full-time trade union positions) were not opened for contested re-election. The three officials therefore are able to continue to sit on the trade union committee and do nothing for the workers.

This election is of interest and significance because Shunda is the factory in which Reebok facilitated a democratic election in 2002. According to the August 2007 report written by Peter Lee, the trade union elected under Reebok’s supervision in 2002 has become little more than a submissive tool of management. Furthermore, working conditions have degenerated after Reebok was bought by Adidas.

Writing half a year before the trade union was due for re-election at the end of its first five-year term, Lee had predicted that the up-coming election was unlikely to be open and fair. He had hoped that Adidas would come forth to ensure a fair, free and democratic election. His suggestion instigated a debate between Stephen Frost, editor of the influential CSR journal, CSR Asia and Jill Tucker, Reebok’s former Human Rights Director in Asia, as to whether multinational companies (MNCs) should be involved in trade union elections in supplier factories.

Now Worker Ye’s report indicates Lee’s premonition has come true. Shunda workers will again be “unrepresented” by another five years of a pro-management trade union committee. The disappointment and anger of some of Ye’s colleagues is clear from his report.

References

Stephen Frost, “Trade Unions 101: MNCs and freedom of association in China,” CSR Asia Weekly, Vol.3 Week 38, 2007, p3,
http://www.csr-asia.com/upload/csrasiaweeklyvol3week38.pdf.

Jill Tucker, “Letter to the Editor”, CSR Asia Weekly, Vol.3 Week 40, 2007, p3, http://www.csr-asia.com/upload/csrasiaweeklyvol3week40.pdf.

PDF version of this introduction
CLNT_Shunda_election_INTRO [82.72KB]

Here is Worker Ye’s report in English and Chinese

“Shunda Trade Union Election: report from a production line worker”
CLNT_Shunda_election_ENG [60.16KB]

“顺大工厂工会选举:一个普工的报告”
CLNT_Shunda_election_CHI [99.99KB]

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