South China province reviews law on wage negotiation

Updated: 2010-07-21 19:19
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GUANGZHOU - South China's Guangdong Province Wednesday reviewed a draft of the country's first law that sets the rules for labor disputes and wage negotiations amid efforts to ease labor tensions after a string of strikes and worker suicides.

One of the major purposes of the revised draft for The Regulation on the Democratic Management of Enterprises in Guangdong is to establish a legal binding wage negotiation mechanism. Among the Regulation's 83 articles, 25 concern wage negotiations.

The relevant union should organize wage negotiations between elected worker representatives and the employer when more than one-fifth of the workers demand a pay rise, according to the draft law.

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If the employer refuses to hold or join a wage negotiation, the workers would be entitled to stop working and the employer should not fire them for doing so, the draft law reads.

The Regulation is the most comprehensive labor law in China, said Liu Mu, head of the labor law department of standing committee of the Guandong Provincial People's Congress, the provincial legislative body.

"It will establish a mechanism so workers can legally voice demands for pay raises."

The Regulation is intended to create a pilot labor dispute settlement mechanism that can be promoted across the country, Liu said.

Guangdong first mulled the Regulation about a year ago but stopped reviewing it amid the global economic crisis for fear of increasing the burden on companies.

A spate of strikes and worker suicides in Guangdong prompted the authorities to relaunch the review of the Regulation, said Ou Guangyuan, head of the standing committee of Guangdong Provincial People's Congress.

Currently, a strike is ongoing at Atsumitec Auto Parts, a Honda parts supply factory in Guangdong's Foshan City.

Another worker at a company owned by Foxconn in Guangdong's Foshan City fell to death from the sixth floor of a dormitory building Tuesday. The police have not revealed the cause of the 18-year-old man's death.

Before this, the company had come under fire after 10 other suicides from July 2009 to May 2010.

"Workers' pay and welfare are the current focus in law-making of Guangdong," Ou said.