GUANGZHOU: McDonald's and KFC, both of which have been heavily criticised
recently for underpaying their part-time workers in Guangdong, are to set up
trade union branches across the province.
Speaking yesterday, Kong Xianghong, vice-chairman of the Guangdong Provincial
Trade Union Federation, said: "McDonald's has set up a preparatory committee,
comprising representatives of both employees and management, to help set up the
union, and it is hoped the branches will open in May.
"Also, Yum! Brands Inc (the operator of KFC)'s Guangdong branch has
approached the local trade union federation for guidance on setting up trade
Kong said that an inter-regional committee of trade unions might be
established for both McDonald's and KFC.
"Many of their city outlets employ only about 20 people, and some smaller
cities have only one outlet," he said. "This means it is not feasible for them
to set up a trade union branch for each outlet or in every city."
Also, the fact that the McDonald's outlets in the province are owned by two
different companies is another reason to set up an inter-regional trade union
committee, Kong said.
"This inter-regional committee of trade unions for foreign-funded enterprises
will be the first of its kind in the province, and probably the nation," he
Kong said that the recent controversy over underpaying by the fast-food
giants was not the reason for their move.
"The federation has been promoting the trade union organization to
foreign-funded enterprises across the province since earlier last year and
several have since set them up," Kong said.
He said that all of the province's 325 foreign-funded companies would be
obliged to establish union branches by the end of the year.
Peng Peng, director of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said that
setting up trade unions would help the fast-food giants improve their images and
"Trade unions, while protecting workers' rights and interests, can definitely
improve labor-management relations," Peng said.