Decent work and proper living standards for dispatched workers

Initial results of the Provisional Regulations on Labour Dispatching

The Bank of China recently announced that six months after the Provisional Regulations on Labour Dispatching came into effect in 2014, its proportion of dispatched workers had gone down to 2% from 20% in 2013, with the changeover to contractual work expected to be complete by the year’s end.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the proportion of dispatched workers in state-owned enterprises may be as high as 60%. The banking sector is where those workers are mainly concentrated. According to the 2013 annual reports of the 16 listed banks, the number of dispatched workers in China’s banking sector had reached 200,000, with the four largest state-owned banks accounting for over 150,000 of them. In recent years, with problems like unequal status, unequal pay or unequal social protection for equal work, a number of dispatched workers have felt they are being treated as inferior to others and thus have little sense of belonging.

Promulgated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Provisional Regulations on Labour Dispatching came into effect on 1 March 2014. The regulations address long-standing issues around the identification of dispatched worker posts, and equal pay for equal work. At last it was possible to take a load off the mind of every dispatched worker who wants to become a “regular worker”.

A spokesperson for the Ministry’s Labour Relations Department says that following the first half year’s implementation of the regulations, the general situation remains stable, the quality of the dispatching agencies has improved, the practice of dispatching has undergone continuous standardization, and the drop in the number of dispatched workers has not affected employment stability. But he also points out that reducing the proportion of dispatched workers remains a hard nut for enterprises to crack.

According to the Provisional Regulations on Labour Dispatching, employing units should maintain strict control over the number of dispatched workers, whose proportion should not exceed 10% of the total workforce.

For their part, employing units are indeed endeavouring to resolve the problem. In the past few years, through the selection and recruitment of excellent dispatched workers, the Bank of China has turned about 10% of the total into contractual workers. Yet despite its best efforts, the number of dispatched workers in the bank in 2013 stood at 58,000, making up 20% of the total.

It is inevitable that dispatched workers will eventually be converted. But some enterprises are yet to form a common understanding about whether or not to go ahead, how much they can do and how to go about it.

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  Source: ACFTU  2015-06-04

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