Sanitation workers

Our 10 most recent articles.

China’s sanitation workers need more than just sympathy from the union

The tragic death of an elderly sanitation worker in Guangzhou highlights once again the urgent work China’s trade unions need to do in organizing, improving pay and working conditions, and countering exploitative management practices.
31 October 2019

Work accidents and deaths in China fall but familiar failings remain

The number of work-related accidents and deaths in China fell by 20.3 percent and 18.5 percent respectively in the first nine months of 2019. However, accidents are still commonplace, and the government seems more focused on managing disasters than tackling mundane health and safety issues.
30 October 2019

Workers stage multiple protests over forced layoffs at YTO Express

Couriers with logistics giant YTO Express (圆通速递) have staged multiple protests in cities across China after the company announced the “reorganisation” of its high-end business service OTP Express (承诺达) earlier this month. Workers at several OTP Express stations were told that they would have to either resign or transfer to a position in YTO’s core business, also known as the A-network, a move that would almost certainly result in a lower income.
17 October 2019

Sanitation worker protests escalate in China over the summer

The summer months can be particularly difficult for sanitation workers in China. They have to work long hours with little rest in excessive heat for minimal pay, and are often owed wages in arrears and denied basic benefits such as the high temperature allowance. There have been at least eight strikes and protests by sanitation workers in cities across China since 1 May this year, accounting for ten percent of all service sector incidents recorded on CLB’s Strike Map.
13 August 2019

China sounds alarm over prospect of major accidents in August

The Ministry of Emergency Management has issued a “statistical analysis” of major accidents in China that pinpoints August as being the most dangerous month of the year. The ministry noted that:
06 August 2019

Coal mine accidents on the rise during China’s Work Safety Month

China’s coal mine safety record has come under fire from the official media after 30 miners died and 21 were injured in June, China’s National Work Safety Month. The Coal Mine Safety website listed details of the 12 accidents that had occurred in June and urged the industry to refocus its efforts on accident prevention.
11 July 2019

The shifting patterns of labour protests in China present a challenge to the union

Collective protests by China’s workers are typically small-scale, spontaneous actions designed both to expose and resist employer abuses and violations of basic labour rights such as the non-payment of wages. The large-scale strikes and protests by factory workers that highlighted labour activism five years ago, are becoming less and less visible today. Labour activism is now far more fluid and transitory and as such presents new challenges to both grassroots organizers and China’s official trade union.
09 July 2019

Decent healthcare still a distant dream for most workers in China

Around ten million workers joined China’s main state-backed medical insurance scheme last year, an increase of 4.6 percent over 2017, according to official figures. That is the good news. The not so good news is that the 233 million employees covered only account for less than a third of China’s total workforce. There are, in addition, 84 million retirees currently covered by the scheme.
04 July 2019

Workers in China’s private sector earn less, protest more

Workers in China’s domestically-owned private enterprises earned considerably less and experienced lower wage growth last year than those employed in the state-sector and companies with overseas investment, official data shows.
15 May 2019

Frontline trade union officials kept in the dark as leaders hold meetings

In this case study from CLB’s trade union reform and accountability program, we ask why frontline trade union officials in the Anhui city of Lu’an were unaware of a major transport strike on their doorstep and why they were kept in the dark about an important initiative to recruit transport workers to the union.
02 May 2019
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