The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) Tuesday said
610,000 overseas companies, including those with investment from
Hong Kong and Macao, have established trade unions in China by the
end of September in 2006.
The number of union members in overseas companies reached
11,797,000, said Li Bingsheng, director of the research department
with ACFTU, on a press conference held in Beijing.
The ACFTU figures indicate 54.5 percent of the overseas companies
were provided with trade unions while 55.5 percent of their
employees had joined the unions.
The formation of trade unions in the Wal-Mart outlets in China last
year was a major breakthrough in expanding trade unions for better
protection of workers' rights in overseas companies, said Li.
The world's retail giant Wal-Mart has traditionally not allowed
trade unions in its outlets, for which it has been widely
criticized by human rights groups and labor organizations.
With mounting pressure from the ACFTU and the public, Wal-Mart
pledged in August last year to help China's union authority
establish branches in all its stores in China and strictly perform
the duties written in China's Law on Trade Unions.
Trade unions have been set up in the headquarter and all of the
outlets of Wal-Mart in China, according to Li.
Earlier reports said China's top trade union official and lawmaker
Wang Zhaoguo had proposed an amendment to the Trade Union Law to
make it compulsory for foreign-funded companies to unionize, aimed
at countering obstinate refusals by foreign companies, including
Wal-Mart, to recognize trade unions for employees in China.
The existing law says enterprises or institutions with 25 employees
and above should establish trade unions, and employees have the
right to join the ACFTU, but it fails to specify the duty of
companies in assisting such an installation.
The federation, led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and
backed by the government, said the country has a total of 1,324,000
trade unions with a membership of 170 million people, including
40,978,000 migrant workers from rural areas, by the end of
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2007)