By Mr. Zhang Jianguo,
Director General of Collective Contract Dept., ACFTU
Ever since 2010 when ACFTU put forward the requirement of "two paramount priorities", namely to promote the establishment of trade unions and collective bargaining in most enterprises, we have given top priority to collective bargaining, and some breakthroughs have been achieved in this regard. By the end of 2012, over 70% of the unionized enterprises have set up collective wage bargaining system. A total of 2,245,000 collective agreements have been signed nationwide, up by 24.6% year on year, covering 5,792,000 enterprises, an increase of 59.3%. Among those, 1,229,000 are collective wage agreements, up by 33.6% year on year, covering 3,081,000 enterprises, a year-on-year growth of 57.9%. The major approaches we have adopted are as follows:
Firstly, collective bargaining has been promoted nationwide as an important initiative of improving the market economy. The report of the 18th National CPC Congress mentioned for the first time to promote collective wage bargaining system among enterprises. China’s National Twelfth Five-Year Plan proposed the principles and objectives of collective bargaining and identified equal consultation as one of the pivotal principles of the wage distribution among enterprises. In the documents issued by CPC Central Committee and the State Council on strengthening social management and deepening the reform of income distribution system, the promotion of collective bargaining has been mentioned as a major strategic objective. At the local level, 26 provinces incorporated the promotion of collective bargaining into the provincial 12th Five-Year Plan. In 2012, 17 provinces included the promotion of collective wage bargaining in their annual report of government work, and 19 provinces integrated collective wage bargaining into their party and government evaluation system.
Secondly, trade unions nationwide have worked together to promote collective bargaining in more enterprises. ACFTU has successively held national work conferences for three times and issued four guiding documents. Besides, the industrial unions at the national level have increased their efforts to promote the work of collective wage bargaining. For instance, the Chinese Machinery, Metallurgy, and Building Materials Workers’ Union, the Chinese Finance, Trade, Textile and Tobacco Workers’ Union, and the Chinese Agricultural, Forestry and Water Conservancy Workers’ Union are expanding the coverage of collective agreements on one hand and disseminating the successful experience of company-level negotiation on the other. The provincial branches of the ACFTU in 30 provinces have set up a leading group for collective wage bargaining. The provincial federations of trade unions of Jiangxi and Henan held their chairpersons directly accountable for collective bargaining. All the provincial branches of ACFTU have held meetings of various forms to promote collective bargaining. In 12 provinces, the tripartite partners have launched joint inspection programmes and studies on collective bargaining.