Collective wage bargaining in China's catering sector

A meeting on promoting collective wage bargaining in China’s catering industry was recently held in Shijiazhuang. Among the proposals was that collective wage bargaining work should focus on setting up a mechanism to make it more targeted and better oriented, improve its quality and efficiency and extend and enrich its scope. The uppermost priority of the ACFTU’s work in this sector, both now and in the foreseeable future, is to promote the implementation of the Guidelines on Wages and Welfare in the Catering Industry in 2014, jointly issued by the national committee of the Chinese Financial, Commercial, Light Industry, Textile and Tobacco Workers’ Union, the China Culinary Association and the China Hotel Association, and to guarantee orderly collective wage bargaining in the catering sector nationwide.

ACFTU Vice-Chair and National Secretary Li Shiming attended the meeting and delivered a speech.

Reports show that catering is one of the sectors in China where collective wage bargaining was pioneered. In 2013, the operating revenue of the sector amounted to 2.5 trillion yuan, from 300,000 enterprises offering accommodation and 3 million purely catering enterprises, together employing some 30 million persons in total.

In his presentation, Li Shiming emphasized that due to diverse standards of remuneration in catering enterprises, collective wage bargaining must be carried out on the basis of the overall situation, and the stage at which bargaining takes place should be accurately identified in accordance with specific conditions and circumstances, so that a suitable and targeted solution can be found and applied. Collective wage bargaining at various levels should be implemented with different divisions of responsibility and priorities, so as to be equipped with distinctive working elements, tools, features and focuses. To make further progress and add to what has already been achieved, guidance and support for bargaining at grassroots level should be strengthened, staff trained to a professional standard, and the coverage of collective wage bargaining constantly expanded. It is necessary to highlight sector-level collective bargaining, considered the key to setting up a collective bargaining mechanism, and actively promote the implementation of collective bargaining on solid foundations and under optimal conditions.

Li Shiming pointed out that whether or not bargaining is appropriate and comprehensive is directly related to the protection of workers’ rights and interests. The emphasis on improving the quality and efficiency of sector-level collective bargaining is in order to clarify appropriate standards for labour quotas, working hours and the labour price according to the pay scales, the varying types of enterprises, and the professions and posts occupied by different workers. At the same time as fulfilling this task, it is important to expand the coverage of bargaining in terms of welfare, working hours, working conditions, rest and leave, occupational safety and health, social security, protection of women workers’ special rights and interests, and promotion and training of workers in regions and sectors where conditions are adequate. It is expected that bargaining, coordination and communication can gradually settle issues around workers’ rights and interests, so that their protection can gradually transition to shared rights and interests.

Wang Zengli, Deputy Secretary of the Hebei Provincial Party Committee and Chair of the Hebei Provincial Federation of Trade Unions, also attended the meeting and made a presentation.

  Source: ACFTU  2014-08-04

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