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Most private firms in China exploit workers


BEIJING, Dec 29 (AFP): Most private firms in China are violating the basic rights of employees, with more than 80 per cent of companies refusing to sign contracts with workers, a government survey showed today.
Even among the firms that do sign contracts with employees, many only protect the rights of the employers while outlining the obligations of workers, according to the survey, which was published in the state-run China Daily.
Some of those contracts also specifically state that the company holds no responsibility in the event of an employee sustaining an illness or injury in the workplace.
The National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, surveyed more than 2,000 companies over recent months on their adherence to labour laws and presented its findings to this week's standing committee session.
"The legal rights of employees were frequently violated in more than 80 per cent of private companies," the China Daily quoted standing committee vice chairwoman He Luli as telling the session Wednesday.
He said workers were especially exploited in the real estate, light industry, clothing and catering sectors.
Under a 1995 labour law, a contract between employer and employee is mandatory.
But with most companies ignoring the law, workers often cannot seek termination benefits, have no rights to medical treatment and do not get the required employers' contributions to pension funds, the China Daily said.