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.

In Aug 2017, China Labour Bulletin issued a rejoinder that says "So far there is very little evidence to support VW’s claims that it is making every effort..." (link to download full rejoinder below). Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Volkswagen to respond to the rejoinder, Volkswagen did not provide further response.

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Company non-response
14 September 2017

Volkswagen did not provide further response to China Labour Bulletin's rejoinder

NGO rejoinder
28 August 2017

China Labour Bulletin rejoinder to Volkswagen response on concerns about Changchun FAW-Volkswagen’s treatment of workers

Author: China Labour Bulletin

…So far there is very little evidence to support VW’s claims that it is making every effort. In fact, workers have been actively asking for VW, particularly VW international, to play a more active role in finding a mutually acceptable solution. VW could, for example, send a delegation from VW international to investigate the situation and report openly their findings. The record of events provided by workers themselves does not show that the company has made efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution between workers and VW…One of the workers representatives, Fu Tianbo, is currently in police custody. He was arrested along with three other worker representatives in late May of this year. VW has yet to respond to this fact...

VW is obliged to recognise the legitimacy of worker representatives and "respectively work together openly and in the spirit of constructive and co-operative conflict management” according to its own international standards set in its Global Framework Agreement…In their meetings with the company, worker representatives have repeatedly asked for the company to prove that full employees and subcontracted workers are paid by the same standards. Workers report that the company has refused to divulge the pay system on the grounds that it is a company secret…

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Author: 一汽大众维权职工代表

...2017年7月17日维权职工代表已经通过邮箱向贵委(集团)提交了《中国一汽大众汽车有限公司劳务派遣员工调解申请》,到目前为止没有得到任何的回复。
...经过了七轮谈判,一汽大众公司一直不愿意对同工不同酬的差额给予任何的补偿,试图通过让职工转正这一政策来掩盖之前同工不同酬的差额问题。由于双方协商谈判失败,现有520多名前期已向长春市汽车经济技术开发区人民法院提起诉讼的维权职工,要求法院立案(同期还有300多名维权职工也向法院提起诉讼,但诉状被法院拒收,其具体理由为相关部门组织调解,法院暂不受理案件...现在长春市汽车经济技术开发区法院认为,本案需要由上级法院审理,已报请长春市中级人民法院审理,事实上这些行为都是拖延维权职工的办法之一。

我们及1000多名维权职工还是希望贵委(集团)能够履行《大众汽车集团劳务工作宪章》规定的义务接受维权职工的调解申请,介入参与寻求解决方案,让维权职工合法权益能够得到基本保护,让我们诉讼代表符天博能够无条件释放!

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Author: 一汽大眾維權職工代表

...2017年7月17日維權職工代表已經通過郵箱向貴委(集團)提交了《中國一汽大眾汽車有限公司勞務派遣員工調解申請》,到目前為止沒有得到任何的回复。
...經過了七輪談判,一汽大眾公司一直不願意對同工不同酬的差額給予任何的補償,試圖通過讓職工轉正這一政策來掩蓋之前同工不同酬的差額問題。由於雙方協商談判失敗,現有520多名前期已向長春市汽車經濟技術開發區人民法院提起訴訟的維權職工,要求法院立案(同期還有300多名維權職工也向法院提起訴訟,但訴狀被法院拒收,其具體理由為相關部門組織調解,法院暫不受理案件...現在長春市汽車經濟技術開發區法院認為,本案需要由上級法院審理,已報請長春市中級人民法院審理,事實上這些行為都是拖延維權職工的辦法之一。

我們及1000多名維權職工還是希望貴委(集團)能夠履行《大眾汽車集團勞務工作憲章》規定的義務接受維權職工的調解申請,介入參與尋求解決方案,讓維權職工合法權益能夠得到基本保護,讓我們訴訟代表符天博能夠無條件釋放!

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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.

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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...

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