From the TUC

Is your company refusing to allow a union in China?

09 Oct 2008, by in International

LabourStart, the website “where trade unionists start their day” took me to China Daily today, and a report on efforts by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) to unionise foreign-based multinational companies. It reported that the following companies were proving very resistant: Wyeth, Microsoft, 3M, AstraZeneca and PwC. Maybe you work in one of their UK operations – at least one of them is quite heavily unionised in the west.

The ACFTU is the state controlled trade union movement in China, and there’s a continuing debate about how the rest of the global trade union movement should deal with them, but some argue that working with them could see the development of a more robust, pro-worker approach, defending Chinese workers against exploitation. The drive to unionise foreign companies seems to suggest that the ACFTU is indeed becoming more active, although that’s not a universal analysis.

The TUC is taking an approach of critical but constructive engagement, and this autumn we’ll be taking part in two seminars in China to discuss collective bargaining, one led by the International Labour Organisation, and one jointly-organised by the TUC and the ACFTU.