“Shame on You, Volkswagen!’ ‘Treat workers fairly!”
For any of workers, wherever they live, whichever their colour, sex or race, are always facing exploitation as a wage-slavery capitalism. This not only happens in Southeast Asia known as a heaven for cheap-labor, but also workers in China also experiencing injustice treatment.
In northern part of China in Chang Chun province, more than 3,000 workers employed as dispatch workers—the similar terms with outsource workers applied in Indonesia. These workers are employed via the agency works to produce Volkswagen brand automobile for more than 10 years without job security and decent living.
Working with no security, it is reported that their contract will be terminated at the end of the year, while the contract renewal will be difficult for the workers. Moreover, the workers are treated discriminatively by the FAW Volkswagen company in China, that the payment for dispatch workers only half of the amount paid to the permanent workers and not entitled with the permanent workers’ benefit.
According to statement released by Globalization Monitor and HK Confederation of Trade Unions, the company has violated both of its mother company (Volkswagen Group) and China Labor Law. In Article 63, it is stipulated that the dispatch workers entitled to the same pay as received by employees of the accepting entity for the same work. In addition, Article 66 already stated that the dispatch workers services shall normally be used for temporary, auxiliary or substitute positions.
Apart of the law, Volkswagen Group also released the Charter on Temporary Work, that concerns about dispatch workers in 2012. The Charter stated that the dispatch workers is entitled to the same pay and fair treatment as with the permanent workers. The number of dispatch workers also are limited not exceeds 5% from the total number of the workers.
However, FAW Volkswagen has been making profit by exploiting the dispatch workers. According to the statement, the company employed dispatch workers far more than the 5% limit. It could be said that the company as one of the biggest car manufacturing in China is enjoying the fruits of cheap labor.
While the workers try to demand their rights since November 2016, one of the labor activist was detained in May 2017 and awaiting for trial. Fu Tianbo, the labor activist, was accused for disrupting public order by leading and organizing workers’ protest for fair wage and treatment.
The Hong Kong local labour groups organized the protest trying to support the Chinese workers’ struggle. Organized in one of the Volkswagen showrooms in Wanchai, Hong Kong Island, the participants were delivering speeches to urge the company to stop the exploitation against dispatch workers and to comply with the law.
The groups joining the protest consist of Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Labour Education and Service Network (LESN), Globalization Monitor (GM), Labour Action China (LAC), Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) also urge for the immediate release of worker representative Fu Tianbo.
Contributor: Rizal Assalam
Adapted from: [Call for Action] Protest against the abusive use of dispatch workers at Changchun FAW-Volkswagen and the suppression of workers’ rights. Released by Globalization Monitor and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions