05/12/2006, 00.00
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Labour relations lawsuits skyrocketing in China

Last year saw more than 300,000 labour disputes go to court, a 20.5 per cent rise over the previous year. China's untamed economic boom is the main culprit and the trend constitutes a great danger to the country.

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – More and more Chinese workers are filing lawsuits against their employers—last year the total number reached a record 300,000 cases. The findings are contained in a report released yesterday by the All China Federation of Trade Unions, which shows that the number of labour disputes last year was 20.5 per cent higher than the previous year

More than two-thirds of last year's disputes occurred in the seven most advanced economic areas of the country, namely Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Beijing, Zhejiang and Sichuan.

Guangdong was the worst offender with 61,200 lawsuits, followed by Jiangsu with 50,800 cases and Shandong with 26,000.

The lawsuits mostly concerned two major issues—failures to honour contract terms, and disagreements over wages, insurance, welfare fund payments and safety.

The report noted that employees won nearly half of all cases filed last year, whilst employers were successful just 15.8 per cent of the time, but it did not offer details as to who lodged complaints or other data.

Hu Xingdou, professor of economics and China issues at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said labour disputes across the country were becoming more prevalent because workers' rights were increasingly being infringed.

"Many disputes happen because governments go ahead with development of the local economy regardless of labour rights. This is a very dangerous mistake for the nation," he said.

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