What can a part-time Chinese employee of McDonald's afford by his hourly pay?
Only two small ice creams, which are valued at four yuan (US50cents).
A McDonald's outlet. [File]
American fast-food giants McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are
being bombarded for their work contracts which offer their part-time Chinese
employees just four yuan per hour, well under the state requirement, state media
An employee is entitled to no less than 4.3 yuan per work hour, said a rule
released by the Guangzhou city government last November. The hourly pay averages
7.5 yuan in the city.
An unnamed source in Guangzhou told the New Express newspaper that the
contract violated the legal rights of employees.
"Once administrative departments discover acts of violations, officials will
order these enterprises to revamp and compensate the employers for their
losses," the source told the Guangzhou-based paper.
"If the problem is so grave that a punishment will be handed out," the source
said without giving details.
The source also cast doubts on the probation system implemented by the
"Part-time employees don't need to undergo a one-month probation period."
McDonald's and KFC have nearly 3,000 outlets all over China and a work force
of nearly 200,000, according to a state media report.
Zhu Yongping, a Guangzhou lawyer, has begun to move for the rights of
He told the paper that the work contracts have 'seriously violated' the legal
rights of employees.
A Lin, a McDonald's employee in Guangzhou, regarded McDonald's as a
respectable foreign-funded enterprise before starting to work there. But the
working experience has changed her mind.
"I don't have enough rest. It seems that I was overly exploited."
Cui Minghuan, Manager of KFC'S Guangdong market, refuted the claims of rights
violations, saying the current rule of the minimum hourly rates of pay for the
non-full-time employees implemented in the province is not applicable to the
part-time employees working for KFC.
"KFC does not breach relevant laws in China."
Cui said these part-time employees are neither full-time workers nor
non-full-time workers. "Their hourly rates of pay cannot be measured by the
An unnamed offical with the Provincial Department of Labor and Social
Security said Cui's words are ridiculous.
"So what kinds of workers they are on earth? "
The official said the rule is applied to these part-time employees.
Mcdonald said in a written statement that "it is always committed to relevant
laws and regulations in China."
Central Government Actions
The report came just days after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao,
in his work report to the congress in early March, called for more efforts to
implement the minimum hourly wage system in a bid to protect the workers'
The minimum wage system aims to protect the rights of Chinese employees. For
example, Bejing has set a minimum wage about 550 yuan per month, while the
economic hub Shanghai has a minimum wage about 650 yuan.
The central government has beefed up efforts to protect the rights of its
huge crowd of employees to quell any likelihood of unrest and maintain social
China is planning to adopt an unemployment law that aims to build an
unemployment benefit system.
The draft law is aiming at promoting employment around the country. The law
states that the government will implement new policies, such as boosting
professional training and increasing financial investment in employment
As discrimination turns rife in China, the draft law contains a clause on
anti-discrimination in an effort to provide employment equality in the country.
The clause states that discrimination against job seekers with respect to
their background, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, age, or physical
disability, will be prohibited.
The government is also taking actions to set up trade unions in
foreign-funded enterprises in China.
Up to date, about 26 percent of China's 150,000 overseas-funded enterprises
have established trade unions, with a total membership of 4.29 million, previous
media report said.
However, McDonald's and KFC have not set up unions so far.