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Union membership in foreign firms 'soaring'
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By Yang Xi

Trades union membership is soaring in foreign firms as more and more multinationals sign recognition deals and collective contracts, delegates to the 15th National Congress of the ACFTU were told yesterday.

The 1,700 delegates to the 15th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) which opened in Beijing on October 18, heard Congress Chairman Wang Zhaoguo hail the growth of union membership among the workforces of overseas multinationals.

A survey in June 2008 showed that more than 80 percent of foreign firms, including most big-name multinationals, have signed recognition deals with trades unions, an ACFTU official told the press.

The union movement's most prized scalp is retail giant Walmart. Notoriously anti-union back home in America, the world's leading superstore firm was forced to recognize a union branch as far back as July 2006 in Quanzhou, in southeast China's Fujian Province.

That move came after a two year campaign by the ACFTU to push the retailer into allowing unions to organize in its 59 outlets around the country. The Walmart cave-in was a signal to other multinationals that it was time to do a deal with China's trade unions.

"Relations between the union and the management are very good, and union membership has brought many benefits to the employees," Wang Yayun, branch chairwoman at a Walmart store in Jinjiang, Fujian, told China.org.cn.

(China.org.cn October 19, 2008)

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