100 million peasant workers have not joined trade unions and there are four main violations of their rights

Asian Labour News, 10 November 2004

An ACFTU official has stated that there are two main difficulties in practicing the Trade Union Law in China. One of them is that there are still 100 millions peasant workers who have not joined trade unions.

Statistics from the ACFTU show that there were 98.2 millions migrant workers from the countryside in 2003, which increase by 5 million per year. The violation of migrant workers' rights can be shown in four aspects:

First, their salary and benefits are not assured and the situation of deducting from and owing wages is serious. According to statistics, most enterprises in China do not follow the regulation of 40 working hours per week. In private enterprises, the problem is much more serious, and workers work on average 50.05 hours per week. Only 15.8% of enterprises obey working hour regulations. Workers in foreign invested enterprises also work overtime frequently. Some employing units do not pay or pay less overtime salary to workers than legally stipulated.

Second, employment management is poor. 57.1% of enterprises in China have signed employment contact with workers, but only 30.5% of private enterprises have.

Third, the living and production environment for peasant workers are poor.

Work place accidents occur frequently.

Forth, the basic human rights of migrant workers are not protected. One survey showed that 42% of migrant workers reported that enterprises punish, fine and otherwise intimidate them.