Workers’ Petition Letter
On February 28th, 106 of us Ohms union members signed a petition, in accordance with the relevant laws, to convene a temporary members’ congress to call for the dismissal of the chairman of the labour union. In the afternoon we handed over the 106 signatures and demands to the Ohms union and the Bantian Neighbourhood union. In accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws, the unions should decide whether to initiate a recall motion within one month.
The Ohm’s trade union chairman was elected last year, by a direct election involving the entire union membership, so that he could lead its members in the safeguarding of workers’ rights. However in the past year we have not seen the trade union chairman fulfil his duties. Instead he has always stood for the position of the company, helping it to infringe our rights.
We are a number of the company’s older employees. Beginning in 2008, we have signed two fixed term labour contracts with the company. The second contract will soon expire, and in accordance with the provisions of the labour contract law, the company ought to sign a permanent labour contract with us. At this time, the company began using a variety of means to try to harm our interests. On the 28th January, 22 of us workers, who have worked for the company for between 6-8 years, were notified that the company would no longer renew our labour contract with us or provide us with the due compensation of one month’s pay for each year of service. Ever since we received the notification, we have repeatedly gone to the trade union for advice, hoping that the union would give us enough help and support. But the union from start to finish has not taken any measures, leading us to be deceived into signing a separation agreement, in accordance with the law, that the company should compensate us with two month’s compensation for every year of service. Due to the union’s omission, 22 employees have suffered huge economic losses. Even after this incident, when we have required that the union intervene in our labour disputes, the union has not helped us to fight and the union chairman has driven us out of his office.
On the 6th February, the company began signing a permanent contract with another group of us, whose labour contracts are also due to expire. The company provided a “letter of intent of renewal of the labour contract” According to the letter of intent, employees with a permanent contract would receive a basic salary increase of 10% beginning the following month and, after signing, individual employees who then resigned would be able to receive three months wages. Amongst us are 13 employees who have signed the letter of intent as well as some people who have signed the official text of a permanent contract. However the situation which followed was completely contrary to our expectations. Towards the end of February, other employees also signed a new contract but found that it did not match the text of the letter of intent presented on the 6th February – it did not include a pay raise, only the decision that it should be a permanent contract.
At the same time, the company also revoked the first batch of already signed contract letters, refusing to recognise its content, and at the same time forced other employees to sign the company’s unilaterally modified version. The so called new letter of intent clearly disadvantages workers. We resolutely oppose the company going back on its word and unilaterally and maliciously modifying the contract letter of intent at the expense of employee’s interests. We also went to the union for help many times to require that it intervene. But the chairman of the labour union not only did nothing, he privately tried to persuade employees to sign the company’s modified contract.
The performance of the union chairman cannot help but remind us of his normal behaviour and attitude: we as members are never able to understand the details of the union meetings; some of the demands of our 2012 strike have not yet been achieved; in our struggle for high temperature subsidies, the union chairman and the company passed the buck between themselves; the attitude is bad – the chairman of the labour union, contrary to the system, unilaterally decided to award the company 20,000 yuan, from the union funds, to subsidize corporate activities. The union does not think about improving our treatment, it simply tries to lull us with small payouts during holiday times. However our losses due to the contract problems amount to several hundreds of thousands.
The Ohms union, as a model for the Shenzhen 163 direct union elections, should be prepared to take the lead and become a union which genuinely belongs to workers. When our union that we elected ourselves does not represent our position, but instead helps the boss against us, we have the right to recall it.
We hope that everyone who is concerned about the recall will at the same time be even more concerned about the practical problems that we face. The recall [of the union chair] is not our main purpose; we just want to be able to have a trade union which speaks for use workers, helps us to solve our problems and protect our interests.
First directly elected union chair is recalled by workers.