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Guangzhou: Hotbed for rise of trade unions
Latest Updated by 2006-08-29 10:28:34
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To many foreign investors, a trade union in China can be a troublesome entity.

But that is not necessarily true in Guangzhou Development Zone.

About 60 per cent of the more than 1,000 foreign-invested enterprises there have set up trade unions.

That compares to 53.1 per cent in Guangdong Province and 25 per cent in the nation as a whole.

Several of the unions are invested in by some of the world's top 500 multinational companies. These include the P&G (China) Investment Co Ltd, Delphi Packard Electric (Guangzhou) Co Ltd, Amway China Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric (Guangzhou) Hualing Compressor Co Ltd, VA TECH Elin Transformer Guangzhou Co Ltd and ThyssenKrupp Stainless International (Guangzhou) Ltd.

Zeng Fanqiang, chairman of the zone's federations of trade unions, attributed the higher percentage of trade unions in the area to the fact that foreign-invested firms have a better understanding of them.

He said that trade unions working with foreign firms have played an effective role doing such things as improving relations between management and employees and offering training and entertainment programmes for members. They also protect the legal interests of both union members and the enterprises.

"A growing number of foreign investors are becoming more willing to set up trade unions in the zone," he said.

Many firms sent representatives to a recent seminar on trade union establishment.

Zhang Zhongmin, trade union chairman of VA TECH Elin Transformer Guangzhou Co Ltd invested in by the German industrial giant Siemens said a trade union in a foreign-funded enterprise can help build up employee trust, affection and loyalty.

This can all be conducive to a harmonious relationship between bosses and workers.

"By organizing activities in which union members can participate, a trade union can help to make a company even more attractive to its staff and lower the resignation rate of workers," Zhang added.

Vice-chairman of the Guangdong Federation of Trade Unions Kong Xianghong said the province will try to make the advantages of trade unions better known among foreign-funded enterprises and encourage more firms to set them up.

"Some firms are reluctant to set up trade unions. This is either because they have been influenced by the opposition of trade unions in their own countries or because they are unwilling to earmark funds for trade unions, equal to 2 per cent of a company's salary expenses," the vice-chairman explained.

The province aims to see trade unions in 60 per cent of the foreign-invested enterprises this year, and over 80 per cent next year.

Next year the province also aims to set up trade unions in all firms funded by the world's top 500 multinationals.

China's law on foreign-invested enterprises states that a foreign-invested enterprise should support the activities of its trade union and protect the legal interests of its members.

Editor: Yan

By: Zhan LishengSource: China Daily Website
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