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China Labour Bulletin: An opportunity for the union to make an impact on work safety

"An opportunity for the union to make an impact on work safety", 7 September 2021

China’s newly-amended Work Safety Law (安全生产法) went into effect on 1 September. This third revision of the law increases fines and administrative sanctions for delinquent companies and even allows for public interest lawsuits to be brought by the People’s Procuratorate. Importantly, the law now brings the millions of workers employed by online platforms - such as food delivery workers - and labour agency workers under its remit.

Importantly, the law makes the obligations of China’s trade union to supervise work safety inescapably clear. But how will the union respond? Will trade union officials grasp the opportunity to play a more proactive role in work safety, or will they continue to hide in the shadows?

One recent case, centred on the Covid-19 outbreak at Nanjing Lukou International Airport, does not bode well. [...]