Do you know that the largest trade union is in China?

@scheng1 (24815)
Singapore
November 18, 2009 2:28am CST
I'm reading an article in Reuters as well as the comments on the article. It's surprising to see that one commenter does not seem to know that trade union is very active in China. Even the management of Wal-Mart in China has to deal with trade union. I think the lack of knowledge of the existence of trade union in China is due to the fact that workers dont carry on massive strikes in China. However, that does not mean that trade union is powerless. After all, China is still a communist country, and seem to be pro-employee. Do you know that the largest trade union is in China? What do you think is the hallmark of successful trade union?
1 person likes this
5 responses
@Canellita (12058)
• United States
20 Nov 09
I did not know this, but then I do not keep up with this sort of thing. I know nothing about trade unions and how they operate.
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
20 Nov 09
Hi Canellita, I guess you will pay attention if the union organize major strikes! Actually trade unions in many countries are too stupid. There's no point organizing strikes, eg postal strikes, airline strikes, and end up destroying the economy. So many companies move their base out of western world, because they dont want to handle stupid and stubborn union.
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@Canellita (12058)
• United States
20 Nov 09
Oh! I thought you meant something like financial trading and commerce! I didn't realize you meant a labor union! Well, it would be no surprise if China had the largest since there is such a huge population of people there!
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
21 Nov 09
Hi Canellita, most people do not know that China has labor union, since the union never ask the workers to go on strike. In fact, the trade union in Singapore is also changing the "war strategy", they go to court, and engage in words battle with management. Our last strike was way back in 1986.
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@mommaj (22711)
• United States
18 Nov 09
Wow! That is kind of surprising to me. I would think a successful trade union is one that makes the workers happy without bankrupting the business.
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
19 Nov 09
haha Mommaj, a successful trade union does not make workers happy! It's impossible to keep the workforce happy at any given time. If you give 10% increment, they ask for 20%, if you give 20%, they ask for 30%. The China trade union is heading towards the right direction, by providing skill training, so that people can learn marketable skills They are offering legal and practical advice to the workers, including market situation, and employment law. All in all, I think they are offering better deal to the workers, and benefiting the employers as well.
@mommaj (22711)
• United States
19 Nov 09
Glad to hear the union is giving them something. Here the workers learn their marketable skills on the job or in schools. It's pretty much the same that the employers usually benefit too.
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
19 Nov 09
haha, Mommaj, you are really living in a stone age! The unions around the world has evolved to add values to the members, such as scholarships to outstanding children of union members, saving co-operative, links to many shops and companies for member discount, training for the workers, assistance to apply for government fundings etc! You dont see unions leading workers to strike in many countries with strong union movement.
@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
23 Nov 09
A country with such a big number of citizens, I am not the least bit surprise if the largest trade union exists in China. Like you said, the country seems to be pro-employee. That could explain why there is little or no protest from them. But you cannot say that is the case for everyone in China. Remember the case of the closed down garment factory? Or the strike by taxi drivers a few years back? I am sure there are more cases. Just that the country is so big, it is not possible to monitor every news publications to find out about them. Hallmark of a good union? Well, if the union can stand up for the employee and not be exploited unnecessarily, then, there is hope that the union is for the people. And in the event of an unfair practice being discovered, the union will stand on the side of the employee and work towards a better benefits package(salary included) for the employee rather than for the employer, then that is a good union for the people. At least, that is what I feel in my opinion.
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
23 Nov 09
Hi Ahgong, when we studied about labor union in degree course, we were quite shocked to hear that organizing strike is a legal activity. The problem is that the law makes it almost impossible to organize strikes, since the President of Singapore can step in anytime to intervene in labor dispute. So far the President never takes any action, it's either the Ministry of Manpower or MM Lee.
1 person likes this
@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
24 Nov 09
ha ha ha ha ha... the President step in? To honestly tell you, I do not even know what our president does. And why we need one in the first place when all the "Work" is handled by the ministers. Most of the Presidents of the other countries are like busy formulating and getting approvals for plans for their country. What exactly does our President do?
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
24 Nov 09
Our President very busy ah, got to sign all the laws to make them effective oh, then he got to attend so many functions to support people mah. Other than that, I dont know what he does. You better go and ask him, maybe ask him to take part in labor dispute to exercise his power!
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@dragon54u (31557)
• United States
18 Nov 09
I was not aware of that! If you have unions, how do you make things so cheaply?! The unions here demand such high wages and so many benefits that nobody can afford to buy American goods. That's why we buy so many things from your country! As our demand for goods decreasing, the union jobs drop away and the unions become even more demanding. It is a vicious cycle and soon there will be no production in America at all. Please tell me more about your trade union!
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
18 Nov 09
Hi Dragon, please wake up, I'm a Singaporean, as far away from China as you are. I think you need some lessons in economics and geography! If you compare the labor force of China and US, which country has more workers, particularly more unskilled workers? When a country has practically unlimited labor, it helps to keep cost low. Secondly, the China government has been controlling the exchange rate. 1 USD is slightly less than 7 RMB. And dont forget that China is a resource rich country, with majority of the workforce still riding bicycles to work. Since they have less material goods, they can live simpler life, at lower cost.
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@dragon54u (31557)
• United States
18 Nov 09
Thank you, Scheng! I did not think of those points and I forgot that you were in Singapore. Sometimes I forget where people are. China is a very interesting nation. I admire their ability to live simply and appreciate what they have. One good thing to come out of our economic woes is that people here are realizing that they don't need to drown in material goods so perhaps our lives will actually improve and we can live within our means like the people in China. We've been destroyed by our unions, however. A national attitude readjustment is just what we need.
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
19 Nov 09
haha Dragon, the people in China do not really want to live simply, it's just a matter of limited resources. However, there is one thing that we must credit them. They always save more money than they spend. The savings rate on a national basis in China is higher than many countries, The culture of Chinese when it comes to money is to prepare for rainy days, save for the future generation etc. Plus the fact that Chinese worships education means that parents will do without luxuries, eg washing machine, heater, dish washer, television, computer, refrigerator, air conditioner etc, so that their children can go to college.
@lampar (7597)
• United States
17 Dec 09
I heard that in China, trade union leader is not supposed to call for nation wide strike before he got an approval stamp from communist leadership. Only upon receive the nod to go ahead, then union leader can plan and execute his strike legally without red army arresting him and his whole family members, ready to be ship to the Gulag for reeducation lesson. Worker union is legal in China but had very limited autonomous power to fight for worker rights and fair compensation. :-( :-(
@scheng1 (24815)
• Singapore
18 Dec 09
Actually that is the reason the trade union is very powerful, because it does not need to strike in order to fight for better compensation. The minute the factory owner rejects the trade union request for better compensation, the "guan xi" system will kick into motion. Since trade union is practically a tool of the government, the factory owner can expect many "inspections" and many barriers. It is better than to let workers go on strike.