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Kewei Tongchuang lawsuit (re labour rights)

科维彤创诉讼案(劳工权益)

On 10 June 2014, the Xiamen Labour Dispute Arbitration Committee in Fujian Province, China ruled that it was illegal for the electronics company Kewei Tongchuang to have fired 40 workers in March 2014, after they went on a 16-day strike.  

In May 2013, Kewei proposed its relocation plan and began negotiations with 40 senior workers.  The company insisted that although it was willing to offer some compensation for relocation, it was not obligated to provide a “buyout offer” (which means that the company would offer the employee a severance pay based on one’s length of service).  On 13 February 2014, the workers went on strike.  The company suggested that if they did not return to work by 28 February, they would be fired.  When the workers returned on 3 March, they were accused of violating company policy and fired.

The workers took the matter to the Labour Dispute Arbitration Committee.  The panel held that the workers were absent from work with reasonable excuses, and that they had not violated company policy.  The panel ruled that Kewei had illegally dissolved the labour contracts, and had to compensate the workers.  Legal experts commented that this decision is rare because the Chinese Arbitration Committee tends to favour the employer.

Kewei did not accept the decision and filed a lawsuit with a local court.

- AFP: China in rare ruling favouring strikers: report, AFP, 11 Jun 2014
- Rare decision: Xiamen labour panel punishes foreign-run company in dispute over workers' strike, Keira Lu Huang, So. China Morning Post, 11 Jun 2014

- [CH] 内地仲裁委首次裁决开除罢工工人违法”,王婧,财新网,2014年6月9日
- [CH] 内地裁决开除集体停工工人违法”,南华早报中文网,2014年6月10日

- China's labour dispute resolution system, China Labour Bulletin, 30 Oct 2014
- Labor Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China, Database of Laws and Regulations, 29 Jun 2007

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Author: 南华早报中文网(香港)

“内地裁决开除集体停工工人违法”,2014年6月10日

内地福建省厦门市劳动争议仲裁委员会近日对一例因罢工引发的赔偿纠纷案作出裁定,认定开除集体停工工人的企业违法,须按照《劳动合同法》当中与“违法解除劳动合同”的相关条款,对有关工人进行赔偿…

一名参与案件仲裁的知情人士称,本案里,工人不去上班,并非因为个人原因。而双方的集体争议的关键点,在于员工集体停工不能以旷工处理。该名知情人士同时对案件是否具有普遍示范意义持保留意见。他认为,本案“不具有代表性,他有自己的特性”…“严格意义上来说,整个厦门司法环境健康,受到的干预少。这个案子没有行政力量干预,仲裁委也没有指令。这个是个仲裁庭自己裁决的。仲裁庭裁决企业的做法有违法之处。”…

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Author: 南華早報中文網(香港)

“內地裁決開除集體停工工人違法”,2014年6月10日

內地福建省廈門市勞動爭議仲裁委員會近日對一例因罷工引發的賠償糾紛案作出裁定,認定開除集體停工工人的企業違法,須按照《勞動合同法》當中與“違法解除勞動合同”的相關條款,對有關工人進行賠償…

一名參與案件仲裁的知情人士稱,本案裡,工人不去上班,並非因為個人原因。而雙方的集體爭議的關鍵點,在於員工集體停工不能以曠工處理。該名知情人士同時對案件是否具有普遍示範意義持保留意見。他認為,本案“不具有代表性,他有自己的特性”…“嚴格意義上來說,整個廈門司法環境健康,受到的干預少。這個案子沒有行政力量干預,仲裁委也沒有指令。這個是個仲裁庭自己裁決的。仲裁庭裁決企業的做法有違法之處。”…

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Article
11 June 2014

China in rare ruling favouring strikers: report

Author: AFP

A Chinese committee has ruled against an employer who fired 40 workers for going on strike…highlighting rising labour activism in the world's second largest economy. A manufacturer in the …province of Fujian sacked 40 workers in March for going on strike the previous month...[A]nalysts say that in recent years workers have become more empowered as labour shortages turn bargaining power in their favour -- though strikers still risk police detention. A government labour panel ruled that the dismissals in Fujian were illegal, said the report, citing Chinese media outlet Caixin. It added that the employer would appeal. It quoted China Institute of Industrial Relations scholar Wang Jiangsong as saying that the ruling "will give other workers and their lawyers confidence as they can view it as a guideline when handling labour dispute cases"...

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Article
11 June 2014

Rare decision: Xiamen labour panel punishes foreign-run company in dispute over workers' strike

Author: Keira Le Huang, South China Morning Post

A labour dispute committee penalised a foreign-run electronics company for firing 34 workers after going on strike - in a rare move that challenges an arbitration system typically seen as favouring employers.  The workers had walked out of the plant in Xiamen, Fujian province, earlier this year to oppose plans to relocate the factory.  Kewei Tongchuang…had accused the 34 employees on strike of violating company regulations...The striking workers…were sacked…due to “violations to company policy”.  The workers challenged their termination before the Xiamen government’s labour arbitration committee.  The panel ruled…that the workers had reasonable cause…[and] ordered the firm to compensate the workers.  The labour committee’s decision was extraordinary as mainland labour dispute arbiters – under pressure from stability-obsessed local governments – typically decide on the basis of discouraging future strikes…The company refused to accept yesterday’s decision and will take the case to court.  Although the right to strike is enshrined in the constitution, “often [a] strike is treated as absenteeism, which violates company regulations”…

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Article
11 June 2014

Workers laid off illegally after two-week strike, arbitrators rule

Author: Sun Li in Fuzhou & He Dan, China Daily

A company illegally terminated the employment contracts of workers who staged a two-week strike, arbitrators have ruled...Coactive Technologies…planned to relocate…The company declined to offer compensation to the employees, but said it would provide housing and transportation subsidies for the inconvenience caused by the relocation.  Some employees did not agree to the plan [and] hundreds of workers went on strike…[T]he firm laid off about 40 workers who went on strike on the grounds that they severely violated company regulations…The committee ruled that the workers had been laid off illegally and that the company should compensate them in line with the Labor Contract Law…Zhang Zhiru, a labor rights activist…said the arbitration result…was encouraging for workers who went on strike to fight for their rights….Zhang said Chinese law has not stated whether strikes are a legal resort or not, and some local governments that place a priority on maintaining social stability are afraid of strikes and place pressure on courts and arbitration authorities over their judgments…

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Author: 王婧,财新网(中国)

厦门40余名工人因企业迁厂且不满补偿,而与公司发生纠纷并停工。劳动仲裁认为,本案中的集体停工事出有因,不能简单视为企业管理规定中所罗列的恶意违反规章制度之情形,故裁决企业开除工人违法…须按照《劳动合同法》当中与“违法解除劳动合同”有关的条款,对罢工工人进行赔偿。中国国内现行立法中没有明确规定工人有罢工的自由…此前全国各地的劳动争议案件中,裁决机构亦多因企业方提供相关的《员工守则》主张罢工工人“严重违反规章制度”而裁定企业方获胜…厦门市劳动争议仲裁委员会的这一裁决,是中国内地首次裁决企业以严重违反规章制度(员工手册)为由开除罢工工人属违法。据财新记者了解,在该裁决作出之后,企业方面不服,已向法院提起诉讼,要求撤销仲裁。

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Author: 王婧,財新網(中國)

廈門40餘名工人因企業遷廠且不滿補償,而與公司發生糾紛並停工。勞動仲裁認為,本案中的集體停工事出有因,不能簡單視為企業管理規定中所羅列的惡意違反規章制度之情形,故裁決企業開除工人違法…須按照《勞動合同法》當中與“違法解除勞動合同”有關的條款,對罷工工人進行賠償。中國國內現行立法中沒有明確規定工人有罷工的自​​由…此前全國各地的勞動爭議案件中,裁決機構亦多因企業方提供相關的《員工守則》主張罷工工人“嚴重違反規章制度”而裁定企業方獲勝…廈門市勞動爭議仲裁委員會的這一裁決,是中國內地首次裁決企業以嚴重違反規章制度(員工手冊)為由開除罷工工人屬違法。據財新記者了解,在該裁決作出之後,企業方面不服,已向法院提起訴訟,要求撤銷仲裁。

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