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China's proposed new labour laws meet opposition from US business (New York Times)

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28 March 2007

China's proposed labour law reform: concerns about US & European industry association lobbying; company responses & non-responses

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited several US & European companies to respond to concerns about the positions taken by industry associations regarding China's proposed labour law reform.
[As of 27 Mar 2007:
- The following companies provided responses (accessible via this page): Ericsson, General Electric, Google, Intel, Nike, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Shell, Tesco, Walt Disney
- ABB has said it will provide a response but has not yet done so
- Microsoft has said it does not wish to respond at this time
- The following companies declined to respond: AT&T, Carrefour, DuPont, Maersk, Total, UPS, Wal-Mart
- Sara Lee stated that it is no longer a member of the US-China Business Council]

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21 December 2006

Labor Rights in China

Author: Tim Costello, Brendan Smith, Jeremy Brecher, in Foreign Policy in Focus

A major debate is underway in China on a proposed law that would grant new rights to Chinese workers. The debate has not been widely reported outside of China; until recently it has been almost entirely ignored by media in the United States. But when the Chinese government opened a 30-day public comment period this spring, it received nearly 200,000 comments, the majority from ordinary workers. But some comments also came from big U.S.- and European-based global corporations and their lobbying groups. These powerful forces squarely opposed the new law...Wal-Mart's recent agreement to recognize unions in China has made headlines worldwide. But Wal-Mart and other corporations, including Google, UPS, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T, and Intel, have acted through the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham) and other industry associations to try to block Chinese legislation that would significantly increase the power and protection of workers.

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26 October 2006

Multinationals Accused of Hypocrisy over China Labour Law Reform

Author: Intl. Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation

US and European multinationals have been accused of double standards for adopting codes of conduct requiring their suppliers behave ethically on the one hand, while on the other lobbying against China’s proposed new labour laws which, if implemented, would greatly clean up the country’s supply chain. The...International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF) has written to leading US and European retailers and merchandisers, including Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco, Nike, the Walt Disney Co, Adidas, Sara Lee and DuPont, asking them to distance themselves from the position of their industry associations and to publicly support China’s proposed new labour laws...

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20 October 2006

[PDF] Comments of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China on the Draft Labour Contract law

Author: European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

Although the European Chamber recognizes the importance of the new draft labour provisions, it is concerned that as long as the existing labour law is not duly implemented, labour-related challenges currently experienced in China will not be resolved with additional legislation. Indeed, raising the bar before focusing on the root cause of the problem - the lack of implementation of existing labour laws - may actually worsen the current situation as the gap between law and reality will increase and may further discourage enforcement... In the annex, specific comments focus on those articles of the new draft provisions that we believe require further attention.

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13 October 2006

China Drafts Law to Boost Unions and End Abuse

Author: David Barboza, New York Times

China is planning to adopt a new law that seeks to crack down on sweatshops and protect workers’ rights by giving labor unions real power for the first time since it introduced market forces in the 1980’s. The move...is setting off a battle with American and other foreign corporations that have lobbied against it by hinting that they may build fewer factories here...The proposed law is being debated after Wal-Mart...was forced to accept unions in its Chinese outlets...The skirmish has pitted the American Chamber of Commerce — which represents corporations including Dell, Ford, General Electric, Microsoft and Nike — against labor activists and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions...China’s Labor Ministry declined to comment Thursday, saying the law is still in the drafting stages. Several American corporations also declined to comment on the case, saying it was a delicate matter and referring calls to the American Chamber of Commerce...[also refers to Goodyear]

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+ Español - Hide

Author: Global Labor Strategies

Las transnacionales con sede en los Estados
Unidos se oponen a una legislación que otorgaría nuevos derechos laborales a los trabajadores chinos. Transnacionales como Wal-Mart, Google, UPS, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T e Intel, por intermedio de organizaciones empresariales de las que forman parte, como la Cámara de Comercio en Shangai y el Consejo Empresarial EEUU-China, están haciendo lobby activamente contra la nueva legislación. También amenazan con que las transnacionales podrían retirarse de China si la misma fuera aprobada...Esta campaña es llevada a cabo por grandes transnacionales como General Electric y Procter & Gamble, que se han dirigido directamente a los legisladores de ese país. Asimismo, es promovida públicamente por tres de las más importantes organizaciones que representan a las transnacionales extranjeras que operan en China...

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1 October 2006

[PDF] full report: "Behind the Great Wall of China"

Author: Global Labor Strategies

US-based corporations are opposing legislation to give Chinese workers new labor rights. US-based global corporations like Wal-Mart, Google, UPS, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T, and Intel, acting through US business organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the US-China Business Council, are actively lobbying against the new legislation. They are also threatening that foreign corporations will withdraw from China if it is passed...This campaign is being conducted directly by large corporations like General Electric and Procter & Gamble, which have directly addressed Chinese lawmakers...This campaign is promoted publicly by three major organizations representing foreign corporations operating in China: The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai...The US-China Business Council...The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China...

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19 April 2006

[PDF] Comments on the Draft Labor Contract Law of the People's Republic of China

Author: US-China Business Council

We respectfully submit that the proposed rules on labor contracts contain a number of concerns for our membership... In practice...several provisions would result in the loss of rights rather than the gaining of rights, as the draft law intends. The Draft Law may also reduce employment opportunities for PRC workers and negatively impact the PRC's competitiveness and appeal as a destination for foreign investment.

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