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The Trade Union Law of the People's Republic of China (1992-2001 Annotation Version)

CHAPTER I GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Article 1 This Law is formulated in accordance with the Constitution in order to protect the position of trade unions in State political, economic and social life, to clarify the rights and obligations of trade unions and to enable them to play their proper role in the development of China's socialist modernization.

Article 2 Trade unions are mass organizations formed by the working classes of their own free will.

[Note:In Article 2, one paragraph is added as paragraph 2: “The All-China Federation of Trade Unions and all of its trade union organizations shall represent the interests of the employees and protect the legal rights and interests of the employees.”]

Article 3 All workers doing physical or mental work in enterprises, public institutions and government organs within Chinese territory who earn their living primarily from wages shall have the right to participate in and form trade union organizations pursuant to the law, regardless of their nationality, race, sex, occupation, religious beliefs or level of education.

[Note:Article 3 is amended to read: “All laborers doing physical or mental work in enterprises, public institutions and government organs within Chinese territory who earn their living primarily from wages shall have the right to participate in and form trade union organizations pursuant to the law, regardless of their nationalities, races, sexes, occupations, religious beliefs or educations. No organization or individual may hinder them from doing so or restrict them.”]

Article 4 Trade unions must abide by and safeguard the Constitution and use the Constitution as the standard for their basic activities. Trade union work shall be carried out independently and voluntarily in accordance with the Constitution of Trade Unions.
The trade union members national representative assembly shall formulate or amend the Constitution of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which shall be prohibited from conflicting in any way with China's Constitution and laws.
The State shall protect the legal rights and interests of trade unions and any infringement of these rights and interests shall be prohibited.

[Note:Paragraph 1 of Article 4 is amended to read: “Trade unions must abide by and safeguard the Constitution and use the Constitution as the standard for their basic activities, focus on the economic development, adhere to the socialist road and people's democratic dictatorship, insist on the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the guidance of Marxism Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, and persevere in reform and opening to the outside world, and the trade union work shall be carried out independently and voluntarily in accordance with the Constitution of Trade Unions.”]

Article 5 Trade unions shall organize and educate workers to exercise their democratic rights pursuant to the provisions of China's Constitution and laws, give full play to the nation's role as master, participate through various channels and formats in the management of national affairs, economic and cultural institutions and social matters, assist the people's governments to develop work opportunities, uphold the leadership or the working classes and support the worker-peasant alliance which forms the basis of the people's democratic dictatorship of socialist state power.

Article 6 While upholding the overall rights and interests of the whole nation, trade unions shall, at the same time, safeguard the rights and interests of workers.
A trade union must liaise closely with workers, listen to and reflect their views and requirements, care for their livelihood, assist them in overcoming difficulties and serve them wholeheartedly.

[Note:Paragraph 1 of Article 6 is amended to read: “The basic function and duty of the trade unions is to safeguard the legal rights and interests of the employees. While upholding the overall rights and interests of the whole nation, trade unions shall, at the same time, represent and safeguard the rights and interests of employees.”
Two paragraphs are added as Paragraph 2 and 3: “Trade unions shall coordinate the labor relations and safeguard the labor rights and interests of the enterprise employees through equal negotiation and collective contract system.
“Trade unions shall, in accordance with legal provisions, organize the employees to participate in the democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision of their respective units through the employee representative assembly or other forms.”]

Article 7 The trade union of an enterprise or public institution owned by the whole people or a collectively owned enterprise or public institution shall organize its workers to participate in the said unit's democratic management and democratic supervision pursuant to the provisions of the law.

[Note:Article 7, Article 8 and Article 9 are incorporated into one article as Article 7 and is amended to read: “A trade union shall mobilize and organize the employees to participate in the economic development actively, and to complete the production and work assignments conscientiously, educate the employees to improve their ideological thoughts and ethics, technological and professional, scientific and cultural qualities, and build a employee team with ideals, ethics, education and discipline.”]

Article 8 A trade union shall mobilize and educate workers to approach work with the attitude of being the master, to care for State and enterprise property and observe labour discipline and shall urge and organize workers to conscientiously complete production and work assignments.
A trade union shall organize workers to launch socialist labour emulation campaigns, develop mass rationalization proposals, technological reform and technological cooperation activities, improve work productivity rates and economic performances and develop society's productive forces.

[Note:Article 7, Article 8 and Article 9 are incorporated into one article as Article 7 and is amended to read: “A trade union shall mobilize and organize the employees to participate in the economic development actively, and to complete the production and work assignments conscientiously, educate the employees to improve their ideological thoughts and ethics, technological and professional, scientific and cultural qualities, and build a employee team with ideals, ethics, education and discipline.”]

Article 9 A trade union shall educate workers in matters of patriotism, collectivism and socialism, democracy, legality and discipline and science, culture and technology, raise the ideological thoughts, ethics and scientific, cultural, technological and professional qualities of workers and enable them to become labourers with ideals, ethics, education and discipline.

[Note:Article 7, Article 8 and Article 9 are incorporated into one article as Article 7 and is amended to read: “A trade union shall mobilize and organize the employees to participate in the economic development actively, and to complete the production and work assignments conscientiously, educate the employees to improve their ideological thoughts and ethics, technological and professional, scientific and cultural qualities, and build a employee team with ideals, ethics, education and discipline.”]

Article 10 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions shall, in accordance with the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and mutual non-interference in internal affairs, improve the relations of friendly cooperation held with the trade union organizations of various other nations.

CHAPTER II TRADE UNION ORGANIZATIONS

Article 11 Trade union organizations at the various levels shall be established in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.
Trade union committees at the various levels shall be elected by their general assemblies or representative assemblies.
Trade union committees at the various levels shall be responsible to and shall submit work reports to general assemblies or representative assemblies at their respective levels and shall be subject to their supervision.
Trade union general assemblies and representative assemblies shall have the right to change or dismiss their elected representatives or committee members.
Higher level trade union organizations shall provide leadership to lower level trade union organizations.

[Note:Article 11 is renumbered as Article 9, and Paragraph 2 is amended to read: “Trade union committees at all levels shall be elected by their general assemblies or representative assemblies. The close relatives of the major principals of an enterprise may not be elected as the members of the basic-level trade union committee of that enterprise.”]

Article 12 The trade union of an enterprise, public institution or government organ with 25 or more members may establish a primary trade union committee. If members number less than 25, one organizer may be elected to organize activities for members.
A locality at county level or above shall establish a local all-level federation of trade unions.
Several enterprises operating in the same industry or in industries of a similar nature may establish a national or local specific industry trade union, depending on their requirements.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions shall operate uniformly at a national level.

[Note:Article 12 is renumbered as Article 10, and Paragraph 1 is amended to read: “The trade union of an enterprise, public institution or government organ with 25 or more members shall establish a basic-level trade union committee; if the members are less than 25, a basic-level trade union committee may be established separately, or a basic-level trade union committee be established by the members of 2 units or more, or may an organizer be elected to organize activities for the members. If the number of female employee is relatively large, a trade union committee for female employees may be established under the leadership of the equivalent level trade union; if the number of female employee is relatively small, female employee member shall be included in the trade union committee.”
One paragraph is added as Paragraph 2 and is amended to read: “The towns and townships, and urban districts with a relatively large number of enterprise employees may establish the association of basic-level trade unions.”]

Article 13 The establishment of a primary trade union, local all-level federation of trade unions or a national or local specific industry trade union must be reported to the trade union organization at the next highest level for approval.
If a primary trade union organization's enterprise terminates its operations or its public institution or administrative organ is abolished, the said trade union organization shall also be abolished.

[Note:Article 13 is renumbered as Article 11, and one paragraph is added as Paragraph 2: “The trade unions at the higher level may assign personnel to assist the direct the enterprises to establish trade unions, no unit or individual may obstruct.”
Paragraph 2 of Article 13 is renumbered as Article 12 and is amended to read: “No unit or individual may cancel or consolidate trade union organizations.
“If a basic-level trade union organization's enterprise terminates its operations or its public institution or state organ is cancelled, the said trade union organization shall also be cancelled and the case be reported to the trade union at the next higher level.
“For the trade union cancelled according to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the membership of its members may be reserved, and the specific management measures shall be formulated by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.”
One article is added as Article 13: “The trade union of an enterprise or public institution with 200 or more workers may establish full-time trade union chairman. The number of the full-time working personnel of the trade union shall be determined by the union and the enterprise or public institution through consultation.”]

Article 14 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, local all-level federations of trade unions and specific industry trade unions shall have the legal person status of a social group.
Primary trade union organizations complying with the legal person requirements stipulated by the general Principles of Civil Law shall be awarded the legal person status of a social group pursuant to the law.

[Note:One article is added as Article 15: “The terms of office of the basic-level trade union committee shall be three or five years each. The terms of office of the committees of the local all-level federations of trade unions and of the specific industry trade unions shall be five years each.”]

Article 15 During their terms of office, a trade union chairman and deputy chairman shall be prohibited from arbitrarily transferring to other positions. If work requirements necessitate such a move, approval shall be obtained from the respective level trade union committee and higher level trade union.

[Note:Article 15 is renumbered as Article 17, and one paragraph is added as Paragraph 2: “General assembly or representative assembly must be held to discuss the dismissal of the trade union chairman or deputy chairman, and the chairman and deputy chairman may not be dismissed unless all members of the general assembly or half the representatives of the representative assembly approve the dismissal.”
One article is added as Article 16: “A basic-level trade union committee shall hold general assembly or representative assembly periodically to discuss and decide on the major issues of the trade union work. The general assembly or representative assembly may be held temporarily upon the proposal of the basic-level trade union committee or more than one third of the trade union members.”
One article is added as Article 18: “From the day on which the full-time chairman, deputy chairman or the committee members take their posts, the periods of their labor contracts shall be extended automatically, the periods extended shall be equal to their respective terms of office; if the unfulfilled labor contract periods of the non-full-time chairman, deputy chairman or the committee members are shorter than their respective terms of office, the labor contract periods shall be extended until their terms of office expire. But those committing serious negligence or reaching the lawful age for retirement is exceptional.”]

CHAPTER III RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF A TRADE UNION

Article 16 If an enterprise or public institution owned by the whole people or a collectively owned enterprise or public institution violates the provisions of the worker representative assembly system or other democratic management systems, the trade union of the said unit shall have the right to put forward its views and ensure that the workers' rights to democratic management are implemented pursuant to the law.
A trade union may appoint a representative to investigate problems in relation to infringements of the legal rights and interests of workers of the said enterprise or public institution within which it has been established and the said unit shall be obliged to provide the necessary assistance.

[Note:Article 16 is renumbered as Article 19, and Paragraph 1 is amended as: “If an enterprise or public institution violates the provisions of the employee representative assembly system or other democratic management systems, the trade union of the said unit shall have the right to request corrections and ensure that the employees exercise their rights to democratic management pursuant to the law.”
One paragraph is added as Paragraph 2: “The enterprise or public institution shall handle pursuant to law the matters that shall be submitted to the employee assembly or employee representative assembly for deliberation, approval and decision provided for by laws and regulations.”]

Article 17 If an enterprise or public institution violates labour laws or statutory regulations, thereby infringing on the legal rights and interests of workers, the trade union shall have the right to request that the said enterprise or public institution's administrative authority or other relevant departments deal with the matter seriously.
If an enterprise or public institution violates State provisions on labour (work) hours, the trade union shall have the right to request that the said enterprise or public institution's administrative authority rectifies the matter.
If an enterprise or public institution violates a law or statutory regulation safeguarding the special rights and interests of women employees, the trade union and its female employee organization shall have the right to request that the said enterprise or public institution's administrative authority rectifies the matter.

[Note:Article 17 is deleted.]

Article 18 A trade union shall assist and provide guidance to workers signing labour contracts with the enterprise or public institution's administrative authority.
A trade union may represent workers in signing a collective contract with an enterprise or public institution's administrative authority. The draft of a collective contract shall be submitted to a meeting of employee representatives or the complete body of employees for discussion and adoption.

[Note:Article 18 is renumbered as Article 20 and is amended to read: “A trade union shall assist and provide guidance to employees in signing labor contracts with an enterprise or a public institution managed as an enterprise.
“A trade union shall represent employees in equal negotiation and signing a collective contract with an enterprise or a public institution managed as an enterprise. The draft of a collective contract shall be submitted to the employee representatives or the complete body of employees for discussion and adoption.”
Two paragraphs are added as Paragraph 3 and 4: “The trade union at the next higher level shall support and assist the trade union in signing the collective contract.
“If the enterprise violates the collective contract and infringes upon the rights and interests of the employees, the trade union may ask the enterprise to bear liabilities according to law; if the dispute over the performance of the collective contract can't be settled through consultation, the trade union may submit it to the arbitral agency of labor dispute for arbitration, if the arbitral agency refuses to accept the case or the trade union refuses to accept the finding of arbitration, a lawsuit may be brought before a people's court.”]

Article 19 A trade union which believes that an enterprise's dismissal or penalizing of an employee is inappropriate shall have the right to put forward its views on the matter.
When making a decision to dismiss or remove an employee's name from its books, an enterprise owned by the whole people or a collectively owned enterprise shall first notify the trade union of its reasons for such a decision. If the enterprise's administrative authority is found to have violated the provisions of the law, statutory regulations or the relevant contract, the trade union shall have the right to request that the case be reinvestigated and dealt with anew.
A party disagreeing with the penalty decision of an enterprise's administrative authority to dismiss or remove the said party's name from its books may request that the case be dealt with in accordance with relevant State provisions on the handling of labour disputes.

[Note:Article 19 is renumbered as Article 21 and is amended to read: “A trade union which believes that an enterprise's or a public institution's punishment on an employee is inappropriate shall have the right to put forward its views on the matter.
“When unilaterally canceling the labor contract with an employee, the enterprise shall notify the trade union of the reasons in advance, if the trade union regards that the enterprise has violated the laws, regulations and relevant contracts and requests that the case be reinvestigated and dealt with anew, the enterprise shall deliberate the views of the trade union and notify the trade union of the handling result in written form.
“The trade union shall support and assist the employee who thinks that the enterprise has infringed upon his/her labor rights and interests, and applies for arbitration of labor dispute or brings a lawsuit before a people's court.”]

Article 20 A trade union shall participate in mediation work conducted in relation to labour disputes within its enterprise.
Equivalent level trade union representatives shall participate in district labour dispute arbitration organizations.

[Note:Article 20 is renumbered as Article 28.]

Article 21 If an enterprise infringes on the work rights or interests of an employee, the trade union may put forward its views on mediation and handling of the matter. If an employee initiates legal proceedings with a people's court, the trade union shall give its support and assistance.

[Note:Article 21 is renumbered as Article 22 and is amended to read: “If an enterprise or public institution has, in violation of the provisions of labor laws and regulations, infringed, as follows, upon the labor rights and interests of the employees, the trade union shall represent the employees to negotiate with the enterprise or public institution and request the enterprise or public institution to take measures for corrections; the enterprise or public institution shall deliberate and handle the case, and reply to the trade union; if the enterprise or public institution refuses to make corrections, the trade union may ask the local people's government to handle the case according to law: 1) pocketing part of the employees' wages; 2) failing to provide labor safety and health conditions; 3) extending the labor time arbitrarily; 4) infringing upon the special rights and interests of female employees and underage employees; and 5) other serious infringement upon the labor rights and interests of the employees.]

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