Can’t blame ’em. Business owners in China’s manufacturing belt, their businesses up in smoke in the worldwide recession, are fleeing the country and leaving their workers high and dry–and yuan-less–rather than cope with China’s restrictive labor laws.
Of course, you can also call them rats for absconding with their companies’ loot while leaving their workforce with no money to survive on. China’s recent Labor Contract Law supposedly protects workers from unannounced factory closings and loss of pay, but many owners have been doing an end run and disappearing.
To date, some 20 million migrant workers, who relocate from the provinces to work in factory-rich Guangdong Province and send money home to their families, are now unemployed.
Since all workers are unionized in China (but have no right to strike), the national union is fighting back, and so is the government.
“We will use all labor-related laws to help migrant workers keep their jobs in this difficult time,” Zhang Mingqi, vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions said at the start of the National People’s Congress (NPC) session.
Some owners were also hopeful that the government would not enforce the Labor Contract Law and other provisions, but that’s not going to happen, evidently.
Xin Chunying, the deputy director of the legislative affairs commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the Labor Contract Law will not be amended because of the current global economic downturn.
“The crisis has nothing to do with the law. We won’t amend the law because of the downturn,” she told a press conference of the ongoing NPC session Monday.
Anyway, all this looks eerily like what will happen in the United States if the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA–see yesterday’s posting) passes. In a word, chaos. In two words, disappearing companies.