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China: Update on supporting workers’ litigations against Wal-Mart

Due to the new FNGO law preventing labor rights groups from receiving financial support from foreign donors and Wal-Mart China’s fierce attacks on labor rights at its shops in China, WCWA decided to use a crowd funding campaign online to raise funds to support Wal-Mart employees nationwide with their legal actions against Wal-Mart’s forcing workers to accept the flexible working hours system in the workplace. The WCWA has successfully raised CNY 50,000 (€ 6,300) and this is solely being used to cover attorneys’ fees for workers. The Association has provided detailed and effective legal support for the Wal-Mart employees, including preparing documents for litigation (arbitration), strategies and collecting evidence. The Association mainly supports those with financial difficulties in hiring lawyers for their litigation.

To see the urgent appeal from December 2016 calling for donations for China’s Wal-mart workers’ litigations against Wal-mart China (Chinese only), please visit the link below:

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_165118a8b0102wig8.html (Chinese only)

The link below shows that Zhang Jun, the WCWA press spokesman, announced that CNY 50,029 was successfully raised from 350 donations:

http://m.qschou.com/project/index/16e8fbdc-c42f-488c-aa65-f717ecb6fe5e?uuid=3083033a-6a55-40c7-8e16-6e6c959138c7&platform=wechat&shareto=1×tamp=2016122323104325951284925&from=timeline&isappinstalled=0(Chinese only)

How are the legal cases being supported?

To make the legal aid process more transparent, the WCWA has regularly uploaded all of the information to its blog about how the funds are being used and monitored. Since the launch of the campaign on December 25, 2016, each legal aid case was given an invoice number (e.g. 08873339) including the total lawyer fees (e.g. CNY 3,570, January 3, 2017). The lawyer fees have so far come from the first 97 of the 350 crowd funding donations. For details, please refer to the calculation information for the first 97 contributions in the “summary of information” at the bottom of the article. (Chinese only)

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_165118a8b0102wk0v.html

Achievements so far

By the end of July 2017, the WCWA had supported nine cases involving seven individuals, who work at different Wal-Mart shops in different provinces and cities such as Shenzhen, Nanchang, Chongqing, Changsha, Wuhan, etc. For cost and time effectiveness, the WCWA mainly communicates and collects evidence from individual workers through new social media. After the case is confirmed, the WCWA helps the workers locate a good and credible lawyer from his/her province to defend the case. Of the nine cases that WCWA has supported, three cases have won and so the success rate so far is 33%. Although the compensation involved is very little, winning the case is an important indication that Wal-mart is wrong.

Conclusion

Wal-Mart China is powerful and non-unionized low-paid employees have very limited resources to fight back and defend their rights. Compared with the Wal-Mart workers’ needs, the funding gap is huge and the existing funds available are far from enough. The WCWA has tried to use the limited funds to support as many workers as possible and Zhang Jun hopes that funds will continue to come in so that the Association can support more workers’ lawyer fees.

Compiled by Globalization Monitor on August 15, 2017

 

 

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