Photographic giant says unions must be 'voluntary associations of employees' Kodak yesterday rejected allegations made in a mainland newspaper that the company had failed to comply with China's labour regulations. A statement issued by the photographic company said an article published in the Legal Daily yesterday was 'inaccurate' and 'misrepresented Kodak's positions' on the issue. The newspaper article alleged that multinationals such as Kodak, Wal-Mart, Dell and Samsung had used their economic clout to avoid complying with China's labour regulations. In particular, it said Kodak had 'boycotted labour unions' in Xiamen 'for years'. 'Kodak has stated that whether to set up labour unions is a matter belonging to the unions and not a company's business,' it said. The newspaper said Xiamen Labour Union Federation officials had raised the issue with Kodak, but had not been able to secure an agreement to establish a union. Kodak said the report misrepresented the company's position. It said Kodak fully supported the establishment of labour unions, but they must be 'voluntary associations of employees'. 'If our employees chose to do so, Kodak would fully support them,' the company statement said, stressing that it fully compiled with China's laws and respected the interests of its employees. Kodak described its talks with federation officials as 'friendly'. 'We had a friendly discussion based on mutual respect. What we told the federation remains our position today,' the statement said. It also buttressed its argument by saying the company had been recognised as a 'model employer' by the State Administration of Work Safety. A federation official said yesterday that it was hard to bring multinational companies in line with labour regulations. 'Giant multinationals can use their economic muscle to get around rules and even impose their will on policymakers,' he said. Kodak and Dell had invested millions of US dollars in the city, he said, 'which meant new jobs and less unemployment'. Mainland law calls for foreign-invested enterprises to set up labour unions and prohibits interference in the establishment of unions. Wal-Mart declined to comment on the Legal Daily report.