[PDF] The transnational network and labor rights in China

Author: Huang Yan & Guo Weiqing, Human Rights in China, Published on: 6 October 2006

Two mainland scholars assess...how the international division of labor and the role played by various countries within it under globalization has transformed the organization of production in China’s industries and enterprises...The involvement of a transnational network in labor rights...has recently been receiving wider attention. This network is composed of multinational companies, consumer rights organizations, the International Labor Organization (ILO), overseas foundations, international corporate social responsibility (CSR) organizations and charities. In this essay we analyze to what extent pressure from the network’s movement for “manufacturers’ codes of conduct” and CSR is persuading Chinese enterprises to guarantee and advance workers’ rights and interests, and we assess the network’s future impact on China’s industrial relations...[It examines players and developments including:] The ILO and the Global Compact Initiative,...World Economic Forum...ILO and World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations have provided an impetus for the promulgation of China’s Labor Law, Trade Union Law and related regulations,...[l]eading multinationals such as Wal-Mart, Nike, Reebok,Adidas- Salomon, Levi Strauss, Pentland, Disney, Mattel, Li & Fung, Sears, Hallmark, Hasbro and Tomy currently have offices or fulltime human rights compliance officers in China to monitor labor rights,workplace safety and environmental protection,...Code of practice for SA 8000 certification [based on ILO, UDHR and CRC conventions],...Timberland [having] carried out compliance inspections on its suppliers every six to 12 months,...The Global Alliance for Workers and Communities (GAWC)...established with the support of the World Bank, Nike and GAP, runs worker development programs in China in the areas of health care, mental health, labor law and urban living,...Nike, Reebok and Adidas-Salomon run worker development programs in their contract factories in China,... Pentland...trains first-aid personnel, health workers and fire wardens in its contract factories,...Levi Strauss provides a grant to the Asia Foundation to support a labor service program for migrant women workers,... the Fair Labor Association...organized a joint training seminar in Shenzhen together with five external audit organizations operating in China,...[with] client multinationals includ[ing] Adidas-Salomon, Liz Claiborne, Nike, Reebok, Patagonia and Phillips-Van Heusen,...Reebok helped two suppliers in Shenzhen and Fujian establish labor unions in their factories,...a Chinese think-tank’s view of human rights,... The transnational network has made a major contribution to the advancement of labor rights and the development of civil society through vendor sourcing pressure and moral suasion on multinational companies and Chinese manufacturers.

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Related companies: adidas Gap Hallmark Cards Hasbro Levi Strauss Li & Fung Liz Claiborne (part of J.C. Penney) Mattel Nike Patagonia Pentland Group PVH (Phillips-Van Heusen) Reebok (part of adidas) Sears Takara Tomy Timberland (part of VF Corp) Walmart Walt Disney