China: Worker protests dramatically reduced in Dongguan as authorities implement "labour relations early warning system"

Author: China Labour Bulletin, Published on: 3 October 2017

"Why has there been a drastic reduction in worker protests in Dongguan?", 28 Sep 2017

The southern city of Dongguan used to be known as China’s “factory to the world.”…also a major centre of worker unrest with almost daily protests over factory closures, the non-payment of wages and social security arrears…

CLB’s Strike Map shows that Dongguan accounted for 24 percent of all worker collective protests in Guangdong in first nine months of 2014…That total fell to…just eight percent for the first nine months of this year…The municipal authorities in Dongguan claim this dramatic fall…is the result of its newly established “labour relations early warning system,” in which the human resources and social insurance departments, police, etc. combine to intervene when problems arise and ensure that labour disputes are resolved before they escalate into strikes or protests. The resolution process reportedly focuses on mediation and dialogue, ensuring that the relevant provisions of labour law are adhered to and in making sure both the workers and management understand the importance of social and economic stability.

The Dongguan authorities should be commended for taking a more proactive approach to labour conflict but their actions do seem to be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted…As the logistics industry develops, however, the authorities will have to focus more attention on the pay and working conditions of delivery drivers and package handlers…[mentions Yue Yuen]

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Related companies: Yue Yuen