Chinese government orders iPod manufacturer Foxconn to let workers unionize

Apple Store“The Chinese government has ordered a Chinese supplier of Apple’s iPod to let its more than 200,000 workers set up a trade union, reports said Friday,” Elaine Kurtenbach reports for The Associated Press.

Kurtenbach reports, “Hongfujin Precision Industry Co., embroiled in a debate over its labor practices, is on a list of companies in the southern city of Shenzhen that have been ordered to set up such a union, which would be affiliated to the government’s All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.”

“China does not allow independent labor organizing, but in recent years it has been pushing companies with foreign investors to allow the state-sanctioned labor groups. They traditionally have been allied with management,” Kurtenbach reports. “Many foreign companies have already allowed such unions to be set up in their China operations.”

Full article here.
A state-sanctioned Chinese union? Is that anything like an Irish enchilada or is it closer to Fijian snowshoes?

Related articles:
iPod-manufacturer Foxconn cuts damage claim to against journalists to 1 renminbi (US$0.13) – August 31, 2006
Apple ‘working behind-the-scenes’ to help resolve plight of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ journalists – August 30, 2006
Apple asked to intercede on behalf of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ reporters – August 29, 2006
Foxconn sues journalist, editor over iPod ‘sweatshop’ story – August 29, 2006
Apple releases ‘Report on iPod Manufacturing’ – August 17, 2006
Should Apple build its own factory in China to manufacture iPods? – July 03, 2006
iPod maker admits breaking Chinese labor laws; says Apple approved sweatshop labor – June 26, 2006
Apple begins ‘thorough audit’ of Foxconn iPod factory – June 20, 2006
Apple iPod manufacturer Foxconn sternly denies iPod sweatshop claims – June 19, 2006
Apple iPod ‘sweatshop’ story a ‘poorly researched sensationalist article’ – June 19, 2006
Apple rebuts Chinese iPod factory claims – June 13, 2006
iPods made in Chinese sweatshops? – June 13, 2006

15 Comments

  1. “Not funny MDN. A state run union is akin to big brother.”

    What’s wrong, are you afraid China might turn communist? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue rolleye” style=”border:0;” />

  2. China now permits trade unions for workers of foreign owned companies; however, the typical Chinese worker employed by native or government run companies apparently do not have this privilege. Communistic ideals are highly selective or maybe not, I really don’t know much about labor laws or their enforcement in Mainland China. If the Chinese government treats its unionized workers like they treat the environment, I wouldn’t expect China to lead the way in labor relations. Apparently, the lack of environmental protection in Mainland China from rampant industrialization is not a significant concern to certain foreign investors or certain board members of certain foreign companies.

  3. China is really communist in name only these days. Really, their goverment is more of a generic “dictatorship by committee”. (There’s gotta be a word for that, but I don’t know what it is.) “Communism” is just the banner the dictatorial group hides behind. They’re all about makin’ the money these days, as long as the one party remains in absolute power.

  4. The ChiCom (Chinese Communist as opposed to Taiwan, R.O.C.) are mandating them throughout China. These are not independent unions that represent workers, they are essentially extensions of management & the government as an element of control of both the workers and the management.

    My Take-Lipstick on a pig

  5. If the ruling class in China calls themselves communist, who am I to disagree, I’m not a political scientist. Of course, some have theorized that facism and communism are more alike than different in many of their core beliefs.

  6. A state-sanctioned Chinese union? Is that anything like an Irish enchilada or is it closer to Fijian snowshoes?

    Before making fun of a Chinese union, you might want to know what you are making fun of.

    Like all communist countries China had 100% employment, and that was the problem with their economy.

    Liberals want 100% employment, but never consider the consequences. Everybody is NOT equally endowed with skills and work ethic. When unemployment dips below 6% industry is forced to hire the dregs of the labor pool These people require more initial training, more ongoing training, and more supervision. Bottom line is that they cost far more than their wages and benefits, which increases the cost of production. In other words, hiring them is inflationary.

    China’s unions are much like those in Switzerland (a country you wouldn’t make fun of). In Switzerland, unions and managment work together such that increases in pay is coupled to increases in productivity. The relationship isn’t one sided as it is in the US, where unions say “pay us or we’ll go on strike”, without ever considering rule changes, or plant modernizations, that would increase productivity thereby keeping the cost of production the same as before. Any attempt at that leads to immediate threats of strike by the union.

    Today’s factory worker is better off financially than mid-management was 15 years ago. They have a long way to go before they are on par with western economies. But keep this in mind when you criticize the Chinese government: China is a country of 1 Billion people that because of communist doctrine had 100% employment and the resultant low wages that went with it. They are managing a political/economic sea change far more difficult than turning the Titanic.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.