Legal Protection For Workers In China

Fair trade practices, including the rights of employees and fair working condition like fair wages (local living wages), ensuring that child Labour and forced Labour are not allowed transparency and accountability. These are increasingly becoming points of interest in the global, particularly in the apparel industry.

China, as a major manufacturer in the apparel global market hosting major manufacturing industries of brands like H&M. As of 2010, the apparel exports from China to the United States were more than $38,000,000 (Zhang, Kong and Ramu, 2016). While the country continues to take the lead in the export business, some series of issues have come up and affected the manufacturing capabilities include labor practices and policy frameworks in China.

China is one of the economies with the largest labor market. Pointedly, the country has a fairly well-established legal system that protects worker workers from exploitation by employers, these workers are assured full and timely remuneration, formal employment contracts and other benefits (Elfstrom and Kuruvilla, 2014). Moreover, China has been promoting the slogan " support China's workers' movement," and creating jobs, improving living standards to be the key goal of the Chinese government. Although the minimum wage has risen steadily over the past decade, there are huge regional differences and has not kept up with the rising cost of living, especially in major cities. The labor contract law contains clear provisions on employment contracts, hours and wages, benefits and wages (Melnicoe, 2017).

These regulations give workers rights and reasonable legal protection, however, the employers have been trying to undermine it.The situation happened could include, complexities domestic challenges and the adoption by various localities government of the country’s which lead to the failure to implement it effectively. At the same time, the increase in wages will lead to the rise of cost operation, which will affect the cost competitive advantage of the enterprises. The increase of such financial expenditure may affect the export competitiveness(Russell, 2017).

Since, the labor contracts under the labor law are often ignored by local factory employers dealing with a domestic workforce since the labor practices in these industries do not entirely allow freedom of association and the rights to protest. Moreover, the country has not yet aligned its practices with the UN-ILO convention on freedom of association and collective bargaining (Elfstrom et al., 2014).

Without these contractual arrangements employees struggle to argue their case when faced with unfair practices in the course of the duties as well as access to dispute resolution mechanism publicly. For example, garment workers at Chinese factories that produce clothing for the Ivanka Trump fashion line and other brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger work nearly 60 hours a week for just $62 a week, this News indicate few issues workers face arduous work time, pay close below the minimum wage in China (Harwell, 2017).

These exploitative labor conditions have placed multinationals at odds with their corporate social responsibilities and global ethics. Which makes me wonder who is responsible for the workers, the employer, the brand, or the country? As series of western fashion company start-ups focused on ethical manufacturing it has now unveiled a new generation of Chinese factories that are able to pay workers fairly, offer pleasant working conditions and reasonable hours, and produce excellent products. Customers even willing to pay a 10 to 15% premium for ethical clothing (SEGRAN, 2017). Unfortunately, China's ethical factories do not represent a global trend. For the fair trade practices, is not about how many jobs are created by the Chinese government and economic planners, but the extent to employers can provide reasonably salary, work opportunities and career development opportunities for their employees.

03 December 2019
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