McDonald's and KFC have promised to set up trade
unions this year for their outlets in Guangdong, the country's top trade union said
Hang Yuan, a spokeswoman with the All-China Federation
of Trade Unions (ACFTU), said the fast-food companies made the
promise earlier this year after negotiating with the Guangdong
provincial trade union.
Kong Xianghong, a senior official with the Guangdong
provincial trade union, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying
that McDonald's had promised to set up trade union branches at its
outlets in the province by June.
However, a spokesman for McDonald's in Guangdong
yesterday said he would not confirm that the company was
establishing union branches.
Kong said that a preparations group, including
representatives of employees and the management, had already been
McDonald's, however, refused to deny or confirm the
The fast-food giants have recently been criticized for
underpaying their part-time workers.
"We will continue to help foreign-funded enterprises
set up trade unions, which is the best way to protect workers'
rights and interests, and improve labor-management relations," Hang
About 26 percent of China's 150,000 overseas-invested
companies have set up trade unions, which have a total membership
of 4.29 million.
According to the Law of Trade Unions, which was
promulgated in 1992, trade unions are formed by employees
voluntarily. No organization or individual can obstruct or restrict
them from joining a union.
"We can draw a lesson from these recent cases that in
enterprises without trade unions, workers' rights and interests
can't be protected," Hang said.
The federation said on Tuesday that fast-food giants
including McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut had violated labor laws by
paying part-time workers in Guangzhou much less than the local
minimum wage of about US$1 an hour.
A statement from McDonald's (China) late on Wednesday
said the company had always strictly abided by all national and
local laws and regulations.
It went on to say that the company was "deeply
surprised" that the ACFTU had alleged it had violated labor laws.
It said the ACFTU had been "imprudent" in making such
(China Daily April 6,