Geoffrey Crothall says the lackadaisical attitude towards workplace safety in China can no longer be tolerated, and officials, managers and the public must all heed workers’ calls for better conditions
It is about time that the trade union did a much better job in representing workers interests in the food processing industry and that government officials started taking their duty of oversight seriously.
The Chinese Dream has been analysed and interpreted in many different ways since President Xi Jinping first floated the idea at this year’s National People’s Congress. But perhaps the biggest difference is between how China’s workers and the official trade union see that dream.
The final death toll at Rana Plaza was 1,127. It was by far the worst disaster in the centuries-long history of garment industry tragedies. Yet, the response of the international garment industry and the government in Bangladesh thus far has been to promise basic safety standards and workers’ rights that should have been in place years ago.
With a workforce of more than one million, the electronics giant Foxconn has enough workers in its Chinese factories to fill a small country. So it's fitting that the company has vowed to make its manufacturing kingdom a bit more democratic by encouraging union elections.
Sunday 28 April is the International Labour Organization World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the day workers around the world commemorate the victims of work accidents and occupational disease and urge all governments to take action.
A government-created trade union is being touted as the solution to the long list of grievances routinely voiced by taxi drivers across China. But for taxi driver trade unions to be really effective, the authorities will have to embrace the idea that the job of the trade union is to empower rather than control its members. Photograph by Boris van Hoytema available at flickr.com under a creative commons license.
The Hong Kong dock strike is making people in the shipping industry here nervous. The headline in today’s South China Morning Post proclaimed “Strike a threat to port’s status, industry says.” Photograph of strikers inside the terminal on 1 April.