Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China

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Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China

 

Contents

 

Chapter I General Provisions

Chapter II Trade Unions

Chapter III Rights and Obligations

Chapter IV Community-Level Trade Unions

Chapter V Funds and Property

Chapter VI Legal Liability

Chapter VII Supplementary Provisions

 

Chapter I

General Provisions

 

Article 1 This Law is developed in accordance with the Constitution to guarantee the status of trade unions in the state’s political, economic and social activities, define their rights and obligations, and ensure they play a role in socialist modernization.

Article 2 Trade unions are people’s organizations of the working class formed by the workers of their own free will under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (hereinafter referred to as CPC) and serve as a bridge and bond linking the CPC with the workers.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions and trade unions at all levels represent the interests of the workers and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the workers in accordance with the law.

Article 3 Employees of enterprises, public institutions, Party and government organs, and social organizations (hereinafter referred to as entities) within China’s mainland who earn their living primarily from wages shall have the right to join and form trade unions in accordance with the law, regardless of their ethnicity, race, sex, occupation, religious belief or education. No organization or individual may hinder or restrict them from doing so.

Trade unions shall protect the rights of workers to join and establish trade unions in accordance with the law and in light of developments and changes in areas such as the organizational forms of enterprises, the composition of workers, labor relations, and forms of employment.

Article 4 Trade unions shall observe and safeguard the Constitution, act within its framework, take economic development as the central task, keep to the socialist road, adhere to the people’s democratic dictatorship, uphold leadership by the CPC and follow Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, continue to reform and open up, have and strengthen political consciousness, remain and become more advanced and people-oriented, and work independently in accordance with the Charter of Trade Unions.

The National Congress of Trade Unions formulates or amends the Charter of Trade Unions of the People’s Republic of China, which shall not contravene the Constitution or other laws.

The state shall protect the legitimate rights and interests of trade unions from infringement.

Article 5 Trade unions shall, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and other laws, organize and educate workers to play a role as the masters of the country and participate in various ways and forms in the administration of state affairs, economic and cultural programs and social affairs. Trade unions shall assist the people’s governments in their work and safeguard the state power of China, a socialist country of people’s democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the working class based on an alliance of workers and farmers.

Article 6 The basic duties and functions of trade unions are to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of workers and serve them with dedication. While protecting the overall interests of the entire Chinese people, trade unions shall represent and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of workers.

Trade unions shall improve mechanisms to coordinate labor relations, safeguard workers’ rights and interests, and develop harmonious labor relations through measures such as equal-footed consultations and the collective contract system.

Trade unions shall, in accordance with the provisions of laws and through workers’ congresses or other forms, organize workers to participate in democratic elections, democratic consultation, democratic decision-making, democratic management, and democratic oversight of the entities where they are employed.

Trade unions shall establish a trade union work system that is widely connected and serves workers, maintain close ties with the workers, and serve the workers wholeheartedly by heeding and reporting their opinions and demands, caring about their lives and helping them solve their difficulties.

Article 7 Trade unions shall mobilize and organize workers to take part in economic development and to fulfill their tasks in production and other work. Trade unions shall help workers improve their morality, skills, scientific literacy, and cultural competence, so that the workers will have ideals, moral integrity, and a strong sense of discipline, and be well-educated.

Article 8 Trade unions shall promote the development and reform of the industrial workforce and enhance its overall quality, and they shall leverage industrial workers’ critical role, protect their legitimate rights and interests, and guarantee their position as masters of their enterprises, so as to cultivate a large-scale industrial workforce that has ideals and convictions, understands technology, makes innovations, and works with a strong sense of responsibility and dedication.

Article 9 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions shall strengthen friendly and cooperative relations with trade unions of other countries in accordance with the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs.

 

Chapter II

Trade Unions

 

Article 10 Trade unions at various levels shall be established in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.

Committees of trade unions at various levels shall be democratically elected at trade union members’ conferences or congresses. No close relatives of the principal leaders of an enterprise may be candidates for members of its community-level trade union committee.

Committees of trade unions at various levels shall be responsible to, and report their work to, the corresponding trade union members’ conference or congress and be subjected to the supervision therefrom as well.

Trade union members’ conferences or congresses shall have the right to remove or dismiss the delegates or members of trade union committees they elected.

A trade union shall be led and organized by trade unions at higher levels.

Article 11 An entity with twenty-five or more trade union members shall establish a community-level trade union committee. For an entity with fewer than twenty-five trade union members, a community-level trade union committee may be formed by these members alone or together with trade union members of another one or more entities; or, a person may be chosen among these members to organize activities for all members. An entity with a large number of female workers may establish a female workers’ trade union committee that shall work under the leadership of the same-level trade union, while an entity with a small number of female workers may have female members in the trade union committee.

Townships, towns, and urban subdistricts with a large number of enterprise employees may establish a federation of community-level trade unions.

A locality at or above the county level shall establish a local federation of trade unions.

A national or local industrial trade union may be formed, when needed, for a particular industry or several industries of a similar nature.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions shall be established as the national unified organization for trade unions.

Article 12 The establishment of community-level trade unions, local federations of trade unions, and national or local industrial trade unions shall be reported to the trade union at the next higher level for approval.

Trade unions at higher levels may dispatch their members to provide assistance and guidance for enterprise employees in setting up trade unions, and there shall be no obstruction from any entity or individual.

Article 13 No organization or individual may dissolve or merge trade unions at will.

A community-level trade union shall be dissolved when the entity to which it belongs is terminated or dissolved, and the matter shall be reported to the trade union at the next higher level.

The membership of the members of the dissolved trade union specified in the provisions of the preceding paragraph may be retained, and the specific administrative measures in this regard shall be formulated by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Article 14 A trade union of an enterprise, public institution, or social organization with two hundred or more employees may designate a full-time chairperson. The number of the full-time staff members of a trade union shall be determined by the trade union together with its enterprise, public institution, or social organization through consultations.

Article 15 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, local federations of trade unions, and industrial trade unions shall have the status of a social-organization legal person.

A community-level trade union that meets the qualifications of a legal person as prescribed in the Civil Code, shall be granted the status of a social-organization legal person in accordance with the law.

Article 16 The term of office of the committee of a community-level trade union is three or five years. The term of office of the committee of a local federation of trade unions at each level and of an industrial trade union is five years.

Article 17 Committees of community-level trade unions shall convene members’ conferences or congresses at regular intervals to discuss and decide major issues related to the work of trade unions. Upon the proposal of the committee of a community-level trade union or one-third or more of its members, a members’ conference or session of congress may be convened at any time.

Article 18 No trade union chairperson or vice-chairperson may be arbitrarily transferred to another entity or post before the expiration of his tenure of office. When such a transfer is prompted by the need of work, it shall be subject to the approval of the committee of his trade union and the trade union at the next higher level.

The dismissal of a trade union chairperson or vice-chairperson must be discussed at the members’ conference or congress, and such dismissal shall not be made without the approval of all members of the members’ conference or a majority of the deputies to the members’ congress.

Article 19 The term of the labor contract of the full-time chairperson, vice-chairperson or committee member of a community-level trade union shall be automatically extended from the date of his appointment for a period equivalent to his term of office. Where the outstanding term of the labor contract of the part-time chairperson, vice-chairperson or committee member is shorter than the term of office from the date of their taking office, the term of the labor contract shall be automatically extended until the expiration of the term of office unless he commits serious mistakes or reaches the statutory retirement age during his term of office.

Chapter III

Rights and Obligations

 

Article 20 Where an enterprise, public institution, or social organization acts in contravention to the system of workers’ congresses or other systems of democratic management, its trade union shall have the right to demand rectification so as to ensure the workers exercise their democratic management right in accordance with the law.

The enterprise or public institution shall handle in accordance with the law matters that shall be submitted to the workers’ conference or congress for deliberation, adoption or decision as prescribed by laws and regulations.

Article 21 Trade unions shall provide assistance and guidance for workers in signing labor contracts with enterprises, public institutions that are managed as enterprises, or social organizations.

Trade unions shall, on behalf of workers, carry out equal-footed consultations and sign collective contracts with enterprises, public institutions that are managed as enterprises, or social organizations in accordance with the law. The draft collective contracts shall be submitted to the workers’ congress or all the workers for deliberation and approval.

Where a trade union signs collective contracts, a trade union at a higher level shall afford it support and assistance.

Where an enterprise, public institution, or social organization infringes upon the labor rights and interests of the workers in violation of the collective contract, the trade union may, in accordance with the law, demand that said enterprise, public institution, or social organization make rectification and assume the responsibilities for its acts. Where disputes arising from the performance of the collective contract fail to be settled through consultations, the trade union may submit them to a labor dispute arbitrator for arbitration. Where the arbitrator refuses to accept the case or the trade union is not satisfied with the arbitration award, the trade union may bring the case before a people’s court.

Article 22 Where an enterprise, public institution, or social organization punishes a worker in a manner that the trade union considers improper, the trade union shall have the right to raise their opinions.

When an entity unilaterally terminates the labor contract of an employee, it shall notify the trade union of the reasons in advance. Where the trade union believes that the entity violates the laws, regulations and relevant contracts and requests to reconsider the matter, the entity shall study the opinions of the trade union and notify the trade union in writing of the handling.

Where an employee believes that the entity violates his labor rights and interests and applies for labor dispute arbitration or files a lawsuit in the people’s court, his trade union shall afford him support and assistance.

Article 23 Where an enterprise, public institution, or social organization infringes upon the labor rights and interests of workers in violation of labor laws and regulations in any of the following ways, the trade union shall make representations to the enterprise, public institution, or social organization and demand rectification on behalf of the workers. The enterprise, public institution, or social organization shall review and handle the matter and give a reply to the trade union. Where the enterprise, public institution, or social organization refuses to make rectification, the trade union may submit the matter to the local people’s government for a decision in accordance with the law:

(1) embezzling or failing to pay the wages of workers;

(2) failing to provide occupational safety and health conditions;

(3) arbitrarily extending working hours;

(4) infringing upon the special rights and interests of female workers and minor workers; or

(5) seriously infringing upon other labor rights and interests of workers.

Article 24 Trade unions shall see to it in accordance with state regulations that the facilities for better working conditions and occupational safety and health for enterprise construction, expansion or technological transformation projects are designed, built and put into operation and use simultaneously with the main parts of the projects. The enterprises or the competent authorities shall give serious consideration to the opinions put forth by the trade unions, and inform the trade unions of the results of their handling in writing.

Article 25 Where a trade union finds that its enterprise gives a command contrary to the established rules and compels workers to operate under unsafe conditions, or finds major and conspicuous dangers and accident hazards in the course of production, the trade union shall have the right to propose a solution, and said enterprise shall consider the proposal and give a reply to the trade union without delay. Where a trade union finds the lives of workers in danger, the trade union shall have the right to propose to the enterprise that the workers be organized to withdraw from the dangerous site, and said enterprise shall make a decision in a timely manner.

Article 26 Trade unions shall have the right to investigate the infringements upon the legitimate rights and interests of workers by enterprises, public institutions, or social organizations, and the entities concerned shall afford them assistance.

Article 27 Trade unions shall participate in the investigation into and settlement of job-related accidents causing death or injuries to workers and other problems seriously endangering the health of workers. Trade unions shall propose solutions to the authorities concerned, and have the right to demand that the persons who are directly in charge and the other persons who are responsible be held accountable. The proposals of trade unions shall be considered and replies be given without delay.

Article 28 In case of a work stoppage or slowdown in an enterprise, public institution, or social organization, its trade union shall hold consultation with said enterprise, public institution, or social organization or the parties concerned on behalf of workers, present the opinions and demands of workers, and propose solutions. Said enterprise, public institution, or social organization shall solve whatever reasonable demands workers have made. The trade union shall assist the enterprise, public institution, or social organization in the process so as to help restore the normal order of production and work as soon as possible.

Article 29 Trade unions shall participate in the mediation of labor disputes in enterprises.

Local labor dispute arbitrators shall include representatives of trade unions at the same levels.

Article 30 Federations of trade unions at or above the county level shall provide legal aid and other legal services to their member trade unions and workers in accordance with the law.

Article 31 Trade unions shall assist their entities in providing collective welfare services for workers and in dealing with matters concerning wages, occupational safety and health, as well as social insurance.

Article 32 Trade unions shall provide theoretical and political guidance for their workers in conjunction with employers, educate workers to do their work and protect the property of their entities and the state as the masters of the country, organize public activities for workers to make rational proposals and technical innovations, hold occupational and skill competitions, conduct off-hour cultural and technical studies and vocational training, encourage participation in vocational education and cultural and sports activities, and promote education on occupational safety and health, as well as labor protection.

Article 33 Entrusted by the government, trade unions shall, together with relevant authorities, select, commend, cultivate and manage model workers and advanced producers (workers).

Article 34 Central Party and government organs shall heed the opinions of trade unions when organizing the drafting or amendment of laws, regulations and rules directly related to the immediate interests of the workers

People’s governments at or above the county level shall solicit the opinions of the trade unions at the same levels on major issues concerning the interests of workers when drawing up plans for economic and social development.

People’s governments at or above the county level and their relevant authorities shall invite trade unions at the same levels to participate in the research and share their opinions when studying the feasibility of formulating policies and measures concerning the immediate interests of workers, such as employment, wages, occupational safety and health, and social insurance.

Article 35 The people’s governments at or above the county level may, through meetings or in other ways, inform the trade unions at the same levels of their work plans and administrative measures related to trade union work, and analyze the opinions and demands of the workers reported by trade unions with solutions.

Administrative authorities for labor under the people’s governments at all levels shall, together with the trade unions at the same levels and the representatives of enterprises, establish trilateral consultation mechanisms on labor relations to analyze and settle issues on labor relations.

 

Chapter IV

Community-Level Trade Unions

 

Article 36 In a state-owned enterprise, the workers’ congress is the basic form of democratic management of the enterprise and the body through which workers exercise their right to democratic management, and discharges its functions and powers in accordance with the provisions of laws.

The trade union committee of a state-owned enterprise is the working body of the workers’ congress, takes care of the day-to-day work of the congress, and inspects and supervises compliance with the resolutions of the congress.

Article 37 The trade union committee of a collectively owned enterprise shall support and organize the participation of workers in democratic management and democratic supervision, and defend their powers in electing and removing managerial personnel and deciding on major questions concerning operation and management.

Article 38 The trade union committee of an enterprise or public institution other than the one provided for in Articles 35 and 36 of this Law shall, in accordance with the law, organize workers to participate in the democratic management of the enterprise or public institution in forms appropriate to the corresponding entity.

Article 39 Enterprises, public institutions and social organizations shall solicit the opinions of their trade unions in studying major issues concerning operation, management and development. When they hold meetings to discuss issues concerning the immediate interests of workers, such as wages, welfare, occupational safety and health, working hours, rest and vacation, protection of female workers and social insurance, representatives of their trade unions shall attend.

Enterprises, public institutions and social organizations shall support trade unions in carrying out their work in accordance with the law, and trade unions shall support their enterprises, public institutions and social organizations in exercising their right to operation and management in accordance with the law.

Article 40 The election of worker representatives on the board of directors and the board of supervisors shall be governed by the relevant provisions of the Company Law.

Article 41 Committees of community-level trade unions shall hold meetings or organize workers’ activities outside production or working hours. If production or working hours need to be occupied, the consent of the enterprise, public institution and social organization shall be obtained in advance.

Where a non-full-time member of a committee of a community-level trade union attends meetings or engages in trade union work during production or working hours, his salary shall be paid as usual and other benefits shall not be affected as long as no more than three working days are taken up in a month.

Article 42 The wages, bonuses and subsidies of full-time members of the trade union committee of an entity shall be paid by the entity, and they shall enjoy the same social insurance and other welfare benefits as the other workers of their entity.

Chapter V

Funds and Property

 

Article 43 The sources of trade union funds are as follows:

(1) membership dues paid by trade union members;

(2) contribution, equivalent to two percent of the monthly payroll of all workers, allocated by the entity where the trade union is based;

(3) incomes derived from enterprises or public institutions run by the trade unions;

(4) subsidies provided by the people’s government; and

(5) other incomes.

The contribution allocated by the enterprise, public institution, or social organization, as specified in Subparagraph (2) of the preceding paragraph, shall be listed and allocated before tax.

Trade union funds shall mainly be used in the service of workers and for activities sponsored by trade unions. Measures for the use of trade union funds shall be formulated by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Article 44 Where an enterprise, public institution or social organization delays or refuses to pay the contribution to trade union funds without justifiable reasons, the community-level trade union or a trade union at a higher level may apply to the local people’s court for a payment order. Where the enterprise, public institution or social organization refuses to execute the payment order, the trade union may apply to the people’s court for compulsory execution in accordance with the law.

Article 45 Trade unions shall establish systems of budgets, final accounts, and fund audit and review based on the principle of financial autonomy.

Trade unions at all levels shall establish funds review committees.

The receipts and expenditures of trade unions at all levels shall be reviewed by the fund review committees of the corresponding trade unions, and shall be regularly reported to the workers’ conferences or congresses of trade unions for supervision. The workers’ conferences or congresses of trade unions shall have the right to put forward opinions on the use of funds.

The use of trade union funds shall be subject to state supervision in accordance with the law.

Article 46 People’s governments at various levels and entities shall create necessary conditions for trade unions to function and conduct activities, such as providing facilities and venues.

Article 47 No organization or individual may seize, misappropriate or arbitrarily allocate the property and funds of trade unions, as well as immovable property allocated by the state to trade unions for use.

Article 48 The affiliation of enterprises or public institutions run by trade unions to serve workers shall not be changed arbitrarily.

Article 49 The wages and benefits of retired trade union staff members or cadre at or above the county level shall be the same as retired staff members or cadre of Central Party and government organs.

 

Chapter VI

Legal Liability

 

Article 50 Where the legitimate rights and interests of a trade union are infringed upon in violation of the provisions of this Law, said trade union shall have the right to report the violation to people’s governments or relevant authorities for solution, or bring the case before a people’s court.

Article 51 Any entity or individual that, in violation of the provisions of Articles 3 and 12 of this Law, obstructs workers from joining or establishing trade unions in accordance with the law or obstructs trade unions at higher levels from assisting and guiding workers to establish trade unions shall be ordered by the administrative authorities for labor to make rectification. Where said entity or individual refuses to make rectification, the authorities concerned shall apply to the people’s government at or above the county level for solution. Where grave consequences are caused as a result of the use of means such as violence and threat in obstruction and thus a crime is constituted, the entity or individual shall be held criminally liable in accordance with the law.

Article 52 Any entity that, in violation of the provisions of this Law, retaliates trade union staff members who perform their duties and functions in accordance with the law by transferring them to other posts without justifiable reasons shall be ordered by the administrative authorities for labor to make rectification and reinstate said staff members. Where losses are caused therefrom, compensation shall be made to them.

Those who insult, slander or physically harm trade union staff members who perform their duties in accordance with the law, where the case constitutes a crime, shall be subjected to criminal liability in accordance with the law. Where the case has not constituted a crime, they shall be punished by the public security organ in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security.

Article 53 In case of any of the following violations of the provisions of this Law, the administrative authorities for labor shall order that the victim be reinstated, his remuneration payable after his labor contract was terminated be paid back, or that a compensation twice his current annual income be paid:

(1) the labor contract of a worker is terminated due to his participation in trade union activities; or

(2) the labor contract of a trade union staff member is terminated due to the performance of his duties and functions as prescribed by this Law.

Article 54 Any organization or individual that commits any of the following violations of the provisions of this Law shall be ordered by the people’s government at or above the county level to make rectification, and said government shall handle the case in accordance with the law:

(1) preventing a trade union from exercising its democratic rights in accordance with the law through the workers’ congress and other forms;

(2) illegally dissolving or merging trade unions;

(3) obstructing trade unions to participate in the investigation and handling of work-related injury or death of workers and other violations of the legitimate rights and interests of workers; or

(4) rejecting equal-footed consultation without justifiable reasons.

Article 55 Anyone who, in violation of the provisions of Article 47 of this Law, seizes the funds or property of a trade union and refuses to return them, the trade union may bring the case before a people’s court and demand that the funds or property be returned and that the losses caused be compensated.

Article 56 Where a trade union staff member, in violation of the provisions of this Law, infringes upon the rights and interests of workers or his trade union, said trade union or a trade union at a higher level shall order the staff member to make rectification, or impose a sanction on him. Where the circumstances are serious, the staff member shall be removed from office in accordance with the Charter of Trade Unions of the People’s Republic of China. Where losses are caused, the staff member shall bear the liability for compensation. Where a crime is constituted, the staff member shall be held criminally liable in accordance with the law.

 

Chapter VII

Supplementary Provisions

 

Article 57 Specific measures for compliance with this Law by the trade unions in Central Party and government organs shall be formulated by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions in collaboration with the relevant organs.

Article 58 This Law shall go into effect as of the date of its promulgation. The Trade Union Law of the People’s Republic of China, promulgated by the Central People’s Government on June 29, 1950, shall be nullified simultaneously.

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