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Wage Talks Open to More Workers

More workers in Guangdong Province will be able to negotiate with their employers and fight for higher wages, according to the provincial labor and social security department.

The wage negotiation system was first launched in Guangzhou in 2001, and has covered 44,000 enterprises and benefited 2.4 million workers up to June this year.

Workers have signed more than 14,000 collective wage agreements with various employers.

"The wage negotiation system ensures workers can earn fair incomes," Zhang Xiang, deputy director of the department, told China Daily yesterday.

Zhang said negotiations between employers and workers were hard to achieve before the system was put into effect.

Employers in the past were not willing to talk to workers, fearing it could harm their interests. Workers on the other hand, were reluctant because they feared being sacked.

Zhang said under the system, negotiations involve all workers of a factory and not just individuals, "making the voice of workers stronger".

Workers can nominate representatives or the labor union of their factories to negotiate on their behalf with employers.

They can even hire professionals, such as lawyers or consultants, as long as they are familiar with the labor law.

Zhang said it is a win-win policy. A lot of factories and workers have welcomed the system.

The system is currently being implemented in Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Jiangmen.

Shenzhen, Dongguan, Foshan and Zhaoqing have also launched the system as a pilot project. It will be extended to more cities in the future.

(China Daily August 15, 2007)

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