Union move for foreign enterprises

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 1994, 12:00am

FORTY per cent of foreign-owned enterprises in Shenzhen will be unionised in a bid to calm industrial disputes.

And the municipal Government will also set up a fund to protect workers against wage defaults.

Official figures show that in the past two years, there have been 1,100 labour disputes, strikes and go slows, in the Special Economic Zone.

Ninety per cent of these happened in foreign-owned enterprises and non-government-subvented factories.

In his report to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of Shenzhen delivered yesterday, a senior official of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) Huang Jinrong, told deputies that labour disputes not only would continue to exist, but would appear in new forms with the development of the market economy.

Mr Huang said that the ACFTU in Shenzhen has planned to increase the number of unions in foreign-owned enterprises, of which more than 40 per cent should be unionised this year.

The ACFTU also plans to set up a Shenzhen Wage Insurance Fund to protect workers from wage defaults.

And, a certain proportion of the enterprises' total wages, about one or two months of workers' salary, would be collected to form this fund, he said.

According to surveys, Mr Huang said that low salaries, poor social securities, wage defaults, bad monitoring systems and the divorce of management and practice are the main reasons behind these conflicts.

In May last year, 1,300 workers in a foreign-owned factory in She Kou went on strike, demanding a wage increase and improvement of working conditions.

Mr Huang said that it was discovered that workers were paid five to seven yuan (HK$4.44 to HK$6.22) a day, much lower than the already demeaning stipulated minimum salary of 11.2 yuan a day.

Besides setting up more unions, Mr Huang said that education for labour legislation should also be strengthened, while their implementation and enforcement be stepped up.

And in a bid to keep a closer control and take prompt action to crack down on disputes, the ACFTU would help public securities departments to form internal security organisations in larger enterprises, he said.