NPC Standing Committee Recommends Steps to Address Mounting Number of Labor Disputes

January 14, 2005

According to this article from the January 11 edition of The Legal Daily, the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee is concerned about the growing number of labor disputes in China which it attributes in part to economic reforms that have led to privatization of once state-owned industries and the conversion of the formerly state-employed workforce to private sector employment. The Standing Committee recommends that labor laws strike a balance between business and worker interests.
In other recommendations, the Standing Committee urges that labor laws and regulations clearly distinguish between cases that law courts should handle and those that labor arbitration boards should address. They also propose that employers handle cases promptly and ensure that employment contracts are legal and provide for safety, old age insurance, and medical treatment provisions.

In addition, the Standing Committee emphasizes the need for education on labor laws and regulations for staff members who administer the labor system, but does not propose specific programs to do so.

A related article in the People's Procuratorate Daily points to loss of wages, excessive overtime, and the lack of contracts as the major reasons for labor disputes. It emphasizes the fact that workers are not aware of their rights, making them vulnerable to exploitation.