China, long known for its cheap labor, is witnessing rising number of labor disputes, an official has said. Admitting that some Chinese companies are infringing upon the rights of workers and the number of "mass incidents" involving labor disputes have risen consequently, Chairman of the Law Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, Yang Jingyu said, "China has witnessed a rising number of "mass incidents" triggered by labour disputes in the past 12 years." Yang, however, did not give any figures on the growing number of "mass incidents" in the country.
He said the number of labour disputes, mainly concerning unpaid wages, increased 13.5 times between 1995 and 2006. "With accelerating industrialisation and urbanisation in China, infringement on employees' rights are occurring frequently, especially in certain regions and industries," Yang said, pointing out private businesses, restructured state-owned enterprises and construction companies.
"They have seriously undermined a harmonious and stable relationship between employers and employees," he said. Yang said that no more than 20% of the small and medium sized companies or private companies sign labor contracts with employees in a bid to cut costs or evade the payment of social insurance tax.
More than 60% of employers in China sign only short-term contracts which last no more than one year. Some employers simply dismiss employees upon their completion of probation, he said. China aims to put 90%of its work force under protection of formal labor contracts by the end of 2007.
Source(s): Press Trust of India