China: Growing Labour Protests and Strikes

A new ITUC report prepared to coincide with the World Trade Organisation’s trade policy review of the People’s Republic of China finds restricted freedom of association and limited exercise of the right to organise and collective bargaining.

Dispute settlement is generally dysfunctional although there have been recent improvements in legislation and implementation. Such problems are reflected in the number of protests, strikes and labour disputes that have been rising over recent years. Strikes are generally not tolerated; however, in some cases striking workers have been successful in achieving certain gains.

Discrimination is prohibited by law, but women and other groups still face discrimination in hiring, promotion and remuneration as well as in accessing education and other public services. In particular, institutionalised discrimination against migrant workers from rural areas remains a serious problem, despite recent legislation providing improvements.

Children are sometimes employed under forced conditions or in the worst forms of child labour. Work-study programmes and apprenticeships, often arranged in agreements between rural schools and city based companies, lead to some of the worst forms of child labour and forced labour. Forced labour for adults also exists.

Read the full report