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China: Worker Representatives at Changchun FAW-Volkswagen arrested after organizing campaign for equal pay for agency workers

"In June 2017, worker representatives Fu Tianbo, Ai Zhenyu and Wang Shuai were arrested by police for organizing their fellow agency workers in a months-long campaign for equal pay Ai and Wang have been released while Fu Tianbo remains in detention...Several thousand FAW-Volkswagen agency workers in China's northeast city of Changchun have been demanding equal pay since 2016. For half a year workers have conducted a highly organised campaign and met with management and government officials to settle their dispute through collective negotiations."

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited FAW and Volkswagen to respond to the allegations, response from Volkswagen included. FAW did not respond.

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Company non-response
8 August 2017

FAW did not respond to allegations on labour issues at Changchun FAW-Volkswagen

Author: FAW

Company response
7 August 2017

Volkswagen response to allegations on labour issues at Changchun FAW-Volkswagen

Author: Volkswagen

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Volkswagen to respond to the following articles:

- "FAW-Volkswagen agency workers issue letter in German calling for accountability and solidarity", China Labour Bulletin, 19 Jul 2017: http://www.clb.org.hk/content/faw-volkswagen-agency-workers-issue-letter-german-calling-accountability-and-solidarity

- "Chinese Volkswagen workers call on German parent company to assume responsibility for violations", China Labour Bulletin, 13 Jul 2017: http://www.clb.org.hk/content/chinese-volkswagen-workers-call-german-parent-company-assume-responsibility-violations

Volkswagen sent the following response to the Resource Centre:

"Volkswagen is making every effort to find a mutually acceptable solution, which is why FAW‑VW continues to maintain close contact with the subcontracted workers from the temporary employment agency. In general, the subcontracted workers are paid according to the same system used for the core workforce.  In addition, other offers have been made, such as taking the subcontracted workers onto the company payroll, in line with certain guidelines. FAW-VW will also be putting pressure on the temporary employment agency to improve the support they provide to their employees and their social security benefits, and to protect their rights."

Article
18 July 2017

FAW-Volkswagen agency workers issue letter in German calling for accountability and solidarity

Author: China Labour Bulletin

…We are Changchun FAW-Volkswagen agency workers, we have been ruthlessly exploited by FAW-Volkswagen for a long time, we have been suffering unfair treatment compared to FAW-Volkswagen full staff…To this date, FAW-Volkswagen not only has not acknowledged nor replied to our legally rightful demands...they have used vile tactics, colluding with local officials and arrested our worker representative under false accusations. Representative Fu Tianbo, in detention for over 2 months, has been accused of “gathering crowds to disrupt public order”. Representatives Ai Zhenyu and Wang Shuai have been released pending trial after 7 day in detention.

Our lawyers presented our proposal to FAW-Volkswagen on 29 June, 2017. In the document we demand compensation for unequal pay and other compensatory payment, we demanded a reply within 10 working days: to this date we have received no reply. The negotiations have effectively failed.

FAW-Volkswagen’s practices have not only violated Chinese laws, their discriminatory treatment of agency workers violated the principles and practices of Volkswagen Group’s own Global Framework Agreement’s (GFA) Charter on Temporary Work for the Volkswagen Group.

We, FAW-Volkswagen agency workers in defence of our rights, strongly demand…the Volkswagen Group fully acknowledge and respect agency workers’ rights, and mediate for the resolution of the current labour dispute based on Volkswagen Group’s own GFA.

Read the full post here

Article
12 July 2017

Chinese Volkswagen workers call on German parent company to assume responsibility for violations

Author: China Labour Bulletin

After being released from police custody, Changchun FAW-Volkswagen worker representative Ai Zhenyu published a letter urging the German parent company Volkswagen Group to…take responsibility for labour rights violations…In June 2017, worker representatives Fu Tianbo, Ai Zhenyu and Wang Shuai were arrested by police for organizing their fellow agency workers in a months-long campaign for equal pay. Ai and Wang have been released while Fu Tianbo remains in detention. Fu’s family has been harassed by police and his mother posted a video expressing her wish to see her son...Fu's coworkers and family maintain his innocence…

Several thousand FAW-Volkswagen agency workers in China's northeast city of Changchun have been demanding equal pay since 2016. For half a year workers have conducted a highly organised campaign and met with management and government officials to settle their dispute through collective negotiations. When negotiations grew difficult, the company backed away from negotiations with representatives and police began targeting worker representatives
 
Of over 3,000 agency workers at FAW-Volkswagen, a large number have over 10 years seniority. They claim their salaries are only half of what a full FAW-VW worker is paid, and they do not enjoy any of the benefits of a full employee. They demand compensation for years of inequality and the guarantee of fair contract terms for the future...

Read the full post here