By Mr. Liu Yingxiang,
Director General of Grassroots Organization and Capacity Building Dept., ACFTU
Organizing has always been the primary priority of the Chinese trade unions. One of the “two paramount priorities” put forward by the ACFTU in recent years is to unionize most enterprises and recruit all potential members. As of September 2012, there have been 2.663 million grassroots union organizations, covering 6.167 million units, with a total membership of 280 million and a union density rate of 80.1%. Since 2004, the numbers of grassroots unions and union membership have registered an annual average increase of 529,000 and 17.908 million respectively.
Strengthen participation in law-making and provide legal and policy support
The Chinese trade unions actively participate in the formulation of national laws and regulations to secure workers’ right to organizing and right to joining unions. Trade Union Law, Labor Law, Labor Contract Law, Enterprises Law, Foreign-owned Enterprises Law all have stipulations on the workers’ right to joining or setting up unions.
In the face of the new situation and tasks, the Chinese trade unions have come up with new strategies on organizing. Under the principles of “unions must be set up wherever workers are”, “unite and unionize all workers”, and “organizing for better protection”, the ACFTU requests its branches and affiliates at various levels to continuously expand union coverage and enhance union cohesiveness. In 2010, a three-year work plan was introduced to promote union organizing and membership development, setting the target of 4.46 million unionized enterprises and a unionization rate of 90%. According to initial estimates, the objective will be achieved well within the timeframe.
Leverage on ACFTU’s organizational advantage to unionize Fortune 500 companies.
The Fortune 500 companies have set up over 370 regional or country head offices, around 5000 companies with legal entity status, and more than 10,000 subsidiaries in China. In 2006, ACFTU successfully unionized Wal-Mart. Currently, 85,000 foreign companies and enterprises of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan investment have been unionized, accounting for 4.2% of all enterprise unions. 4,400 plus business entities of Fortune 500 companies in China have been unionized. The diehard anti-union companies such as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Morgan Stanley have all been unionized in China.