Chinese trade union challenges Walmart closure programme
Closures of Walmart stores in China have been challenged by the local unit of the ACFTU (All China Federation of Trade Unions, supported by the Chinese government) in Changde, Hunan province. The union has been leading protests outside a Walmart store that closed last week. As it is highly unusual for the government sanctioned union to lend its support to industrial actions, their backing has given workers great confidence.
Chinese workers have been demanding twice the compensation offered by Walmart to workers who will lose their jobs, and also rental and other subsidies for those who transfer to stores in other cities. The involvement of ACFTU adds weight to their actions and could increase official scrutiny of the closures.
Head of UNI Commerce, Alke Boessiger said “The protests against Walmart in China are highly significant. The Chinese union, the ACFTU are challenging Walmart's behaviour in order to safeguard the future of its workers.”
“The UNI Walmart Global Union Alliance stands with the ACFTU and Chinese Walmart workers, who, like their brothers and sisters around the world, including in the Unites States, are victims of the company’s outmoded and irresponsible business model.”
The protests in China echo similar demonstrations in the United States and elsewhere in response to the continued poor labour practices of Walmart.
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UNI Global Union has a cordial relationship with the ACTFU, with an official representative attending UNI Commerce’s annual Conference in Buenos Aires and a UNI Commerce delegation visiting them in China in September 2012.