LAWS regulating strikes are necessary because of the adverse effect the industrial action has on society and the economy, according a senior Guangdong union official. Secretary-general of the Guangdong Federation of Trade Unions, Kong Xianghong, compared strikes with nuclear weapons - they should work only as a deterrent and be used as a last resort, he said. Authorities in the Dalian Development Zone in Liaoning passed an 18-point law severely curtailing workers' rights to strike last June. And some development zones and Special Economic Zones reportedly also have plans for similar laws. Mr Kong said strikes harmed both workers and enterprises. 'We cannot say that strikes are illegal since there is no law against them. Our stand is that we don't encourage them . . . but neither do we oppose them.' He agreed that the law should state clearly workers' rights to strike. But he stressed that there should also be restrictions. Dalian's law states that any negotiations between employers and employees can only be conducted through the government-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions. Critics say workers are at a great disadvantage and striking is almost impossible. 'Whenever such labour actions take place, the union will stand among workers to resolve conflicts rather than to fan fires,' Mr Kong said. He said there was no need to apply Dalian's practice to Guangdong, since strikes there had been confined within factory walls without causing an adverse effect on society. In recent years, Guangdong has witnessed increasing labour disputes including strikes. Guangdong courts handled a total of 400 'collective labour dispute' cases last year. But many went unreported, sources said.