Participation at Source a Top Priority

By Mr. Guo Jun

Director General of Legal Work Department, ACFTU

In the market economy, the fundamental responsibility of the Chinese trade unions lies in safeguarding workers¨ legitimate rights and interests, and legal work represents a vital part of the endeavor, with the centerpiece of protecting workers¨ rights through legal means and fostering harmonious labor relations and social stability.

Our efforts consist of following dimensions.

Participate in policy and law-making, namely participate in the formulation of national laws, regulations, rules and major economic and social development policies as well as reform plans that are of immediate interest to workers¨ labor, political and democratic rights.

Carry out law enforcement inspections. Efforts are made to carry out supervision against violations, uphold rights of workers and unions, monitor enterprises to implement labor laws and regulations and urge government to tighten inspection and punishment.                                              

Engage in the settlement of labor disputes. The Chinese trade unions take the initiatives to protect workers¨ interests in labor disputes, mediate labor dispute cases at enterprises, and participate in the arbitration and litigation of individual and collective cases.                                    

Provide legal aids services. Legal counseling and legal aids are provided for workers and legal consultations are offered to union organizations of various levels.                                                  
Conduct law education and campaigns. We compile materials and carry out legal publicity and education with regard to enhancing the knowledge and capacity of workers and union officials.                                          

Build up professional law practitioners. Efforts are made to develop a team of talent, including labor dispute mediators, part-time arbitrators, union labor law inspectors and staff and professionals such as lawyers providing legal aids.                                                  

Conduct jurisprudence research and studies. Given the actual need of unions in better protecting workers¨ rights, we carry out empirical analysis and theoretical studies, explore innovation and development built on the existing theories and provide guidance for practical work.                                                                    

Promote corporate social responsibility. One of our focuses is to enhance the awareness of enterprises of shouldering corporate social responsibilities voluntarily, maintaining harmonious labor relations and social stability, promoting social and economic development and advocating decent work in accordance with law.                                              

Over the years, the Chinese trade unions have insisted on ^putting people first and protecting workers¨ rights in an active and scientific fashion ̄. Positive results have been produced thanks to the important role played by unions in terms of rights protection and the building of harmonious labor relations.

1. Help to shape a socialist labor law system with Chinese characteristics. As the country is making efforts to strengthen social and labor legislation, ACFTU takes this window of opportunity to set up joint working system with the National People¨s Congress and relevant departments of State Council to promote democratic and scientific legislation. Unions reach out to enterprises and workers, soliciting and reflecting their opinions to the legislative bodies. For instance, when the National People¨s Congress soliciting public opinions on the draft of Labor Contract Law, the ACFTU collected near 200,000 suggestions, mostly from workers and unions, making the law the mostly consulted one and thus further improving the employment practices in China. Under ACFTU¨s proposal, malicious wage defaulting has been outlawed as a criminal behavior to effectively curb the wage arrears issue. Also under the ACFTU¨s proposal, the Enterprises Law has clearly established the mechanisms to have workers¨ representatives sit in the Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors and for the first time specified the CSR on the part of enterprises. With ten years¨ endeavor by the Chinese trade unions, the Bankruptcy Law has been finally introduced on the basis that priority should be given to workers in terms of compensation when enterprises are bankrupt.

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  Source: ACFTU  2014-05-23

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