Catering employees to get higher wages

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Hundreds of thousands of catering industry employees in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, may soon receive more pay because of a contract recently signed by members of a local labor union and their employers.

Catering employees in Wuhan to get higher wages

Catering employees in Wuhan to get higher wages

If the agreement wins the approval of local government officials, about 450,000 workers in the industry will receive a monthly minimum salary that is 30 percent higher than the minimum wage paid in the city. They will also be able to expect at least a 9 percent increase in their wages within a year, according to the contract signed on April 23.

The contract sets a record for the largest number of employees to be affected by collective bargaining in China's history.

It sets the pay of employees in downtown Wuhan at no less than 1,170 yuan (US$180) a month and that for their counterparts in suburban areas at no less than 975 yuan a month.

The current minimum monthly salary for city residents who work in urban areas is 900 yuan, while that for those working in suburban areas is 750 yuan.

The contract also sets minimum salaries for chefs, waiters, dishwashers and seven other types of employees.

And it stipulates that workers should not work more than an hour of overtime a day unless special circumstances create an urgent need for their labor. Even then, they should work no more than three hours of overtime a day and should never be asked to do something that would put their health at risk.

The contract also says workers should not have more than 36 hours of overtime in a month and should enjoy at least one day off each week.

"The negotiation over this contract is historically significant because it would give nearly 500,000 employees in the catering industry in Wuhan a foundation for the protection of their rights," Zhou Guohua, deputy head of Wuhan Labor Union Federation of Trade, Finance and Tobacco, who represents the catering workers, was quoted by Guangzhou Daily as saying.

Some in the catering industry had little to say about the negotiations.

"I've heard about the news but have not received any notice from the local labor authority," said a woman surnamed Li, who runs Yongchang Restaurant in the city.

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