The Struggle of a Self-Organized Workplace Union in China: Report on the Labor Dispute between Ole Wolff Yantai and the Labor Union

In mainland China, self-organized grass root labor unions, catalyzed by workers’ resistance, are
extremely rare. Fortunately, such a labor union was established at Ole Wolff Electronics China in
Yantai city, Shandong Province two years ago. However, it now finds itself pressed between the
hammer and the anvil of capital in association with local government. Then, even rarer is that the
workplace union made an appeal to international trade union movement and got a response.

In 2006, several workers complained about their employer — Ole Wolff Electronics Yantai, a
Danish funded company --- to the local Labor Bureau in Yantai municipality, when they could no
longer put up with over-exploitation and arbitrary dismissals. Their complaint was followed by
strikes and protests. In order to safeguard their legitimate rights, the workers established a labor
union. The response of the employer was to dismiss six of the worker’s representatives, all were
women. The employer threatened the labor union committee to refrain from strikes and other forms
of resistance and ultimately fired the acting chairperson of the labor union, who was a spokesperson
for the workers.

Under pressure from the labor union, the local court ruled that it was illegal for the employer to
have dismissed the six workers’ representatives. However, the employer refused to comply with the
verdict when it received backing from the local Labor Bureau. The local Labor Bureau had sided
with the employer throughout the events. As far as the local trade union, the Fushan District ACFTU
(All-China Federation of Trade Unions), was concerned, they acknowledged the legal status of the
Ole Wolff Yantai Trade Union (abbr. OWYTU) when it was founded, in response to the sympathy
with the workers displayed by the National ACFTU, Beijing. However, when this sympathy
dwindled, they changed their attitude, siding openly with the management as the situation developed.

As a result, OWYTU paid dearly for each tiny advance. Despite many challenges, OWYTU kept on
going, committing itself to disclosing the truth to the public by setting up an internet blog [1], which
created significant social influence in Yantai. In May, 2008, OWYTU decided to make an appeal to
international trade union movement through the internet. The United Federation of Danish Workers
or 3F (Fagligt Fælles Forbund) responded by addressing a letter to Ole Wolff Electronics A/S in
Denmark, demanding the employer implement its social responsibility and also to respect basic level
labor union. The events are still in progress.

(Appendix I displays the request of OWYTU to its employer)

 I. January to June of 2006: Labor disputes start with the launch of Ole Wolff Yantai

Ole Wolff Electronics A/S was founded by Mr. Ole Wolff in 1983 in Denmark, where it is still
headquartered. The company grew to a global organization with a research and development center
in South Korea, branches and sale offices all over the world, and manufacturing bases in Guangdong,
Zhejiang, Shandong and other provinces in mainland China. The company built its biggest factory in
Dongguan city, Guangdong Province, with total acreage of 15,000 square meters and 1400 staff and
workers. [2] Ole Wolff Yantai Co.Ltd. [3], registered as a Hong Kong funded company, is situated at
Yongfuyuan Rd. 551#., Fushan High Science-Technology Park, Yantai city, Shandong province. It
mainly focuses on manufacturing cell phone speakers and headphones on a small scale. Presently its
workforce has shrunk to less than 100 from its peak of 250. According to records in the Industrial
and Commercial Registry, its foundation was dated October 19, 2005, with registered capital of
$150,000 U.S. dollars. Ole Wolff Electronics Company was launched in January, 2006, and has been
ridden with labor disputes since then. The labor disputes evolved into struggles for setting up a labor
union and the control of the labor union. The management level of the company seldom concealed
their arbitrary and contemptuous attitudes toward workers from the first to last of the events.

Liu Meizhen was one of the first women workers recruited by Ole Wolff Yantai in January,
2006. The company reports an annual salary for the factory director of RMB 200,000 [4]; by contrast,
the monthly wage of average worker is RMB 530 (equal to the local minimum wage). Ole Wolff
Yantai announced that they had “paid too much” (at RMB 530 per month) and reduced the monthly
wage of Liu Meizhen and her coworkers to RMB 480 one month after they were recruited. The
company deducted an additional RMB 30 about ten days later. The company did not honor promises
made when workers were recruited, refusing to sign a labor contract with employees, and claiming
that the company would decide whether or not to sign labor contracts with employees on the grounds
of performance.

The workers had no recourse but to report misdeeds of their employer to the Labor Bureau in
Fushan district, urging the authorities to deal with the disputes. Despite several telephone calls, [5] the
officials put off the appeals over and over again. On the 28th of April, Ole Wolff Yantai fired 58
female workers without any reasonable excuses. On the 29th, the concerned workers petitioned the
Labor Bureau once again. In the afternoon, the company dismissed ten more women workers without
proper explanation. Through negotiation, Ole Wolff Yantai promised to pay RMB 300 to each
worker as compensation money and three months labor insurances as well. Later, the Company went
back on its word and, as a compromise, agreed to pay two months labor insurance instead. Facing
strong resistance from the workers, at the beginning of June, the company consented to restore the
seven dismissed women workers to their posts.

 II. July to October of 2006: Struggles to set up a labor union

Learning from the events that had happened in the factory, and aiming to protect their legal
rights, the women workers conceived the idea of organizing their own labor union for addressing of
the violations committed by the company. In the middle of July, they submitted an application to the
employer and the Fushan District ACFTU at the same time. In the letter of application, they noted
that: “Workers are determined to get organized to keep their legal rights from being violated,
considering the fact it has become a common phenomena for workers’ legitimate rights to be violated
by the employers, and our labor laws turned into a meaningless “scrap of paper” because of local
(meaning local governments tend to be bias to business interest and colluding with the
employers. More below—Wang). The situation described above highlights the reason and purpose of
labor union.”

However management turned down the workers’ demand with many excuses. The Fushan
ACFTU supported the workers in this instance, but it could not change the situation.

On September 29, six women workers led by Liu Meizhen argued strongly that was
unreasonable for the company to only grant a three-day leave to workers during National Day (in
accordance with the law, worker is entitled to a seven-day leave). However the company posted an
announcement on October 7 in which they announced that the six workers’ representatives were

On October 8, the angered workers went on strike, with an intensified commitment to the idea of
organizing a labor union. The Labor Bureau ignored the petitions of workers at first, but showed up
in a hurry at the news of the strike.

On the following day, a letter was sent to management and the Fushan ACFTU signed by 110
workers, requesting “the setting up of a labor union to efficiently safeguard the legitimate rights of
the workers”, in which the workers listed the violations of management including the failure to issue
a labor contract, non-payment of labor insurance, arbitrary dismissal, excessive overtime work,
refusing leave requests, being unwilling to provide treatment for victims of occupational hearing
damage, poor food and violations of women workers’ rights.

In response to workers’ demand, management resolved to fire Liu Meizhen, the workers’
representative, once again. They tried to compel other workers back to work with threats, lies and
spreading spiteful rumors about the six workers’ representatives. Although the Fushan ACFTU and
the Bureau of Labor intervened in the situation, the management still came up with new ways to
delay the process of setting up a labor union.

In the morning of October 16, striking workers authorized Zhang Jun to seek help from the
National ACFTU, Beijing. He is the husband of Liu Meizhen, an electrician who studies laws by
himself. He is not employee of Ole Wolff. He called the ACTFU National office in Beijing to consult
them the idea of the Ole Wolff Yantai workers staging a strike to found their union, and the people
there pointed out that the Constitution had granted right to strike for a while, then the right was
deleted again in 1982. However, the Constitution doesn’t forbid the right to strike either. Hence, the
right to strike is allowable. To learn about the strike, Vice Chairman of the National ACTFU, Xu
Deming, flew to Yantai, to discuss the situation with the staff of the Yantai ACFTU. However, he
didn’t meet up with the members of the committee of OWYTU. Meanwhile, officials of Fushan
ACFTU asked workers to go back to work, suggesting that the six dismissed workers’ representatives
should safeguard their rights in accordance with law, namely, by resorting to industrial arbitration.

The District Labor Bureau took the same standpoint, even accusing the striking workers of violating
the law. When workers challenged the Labor Bureau officials by saying: “The National ACFTU is on
the side of striking workers,” Shi, the Vice Director of Labor Supervision office of Labor Bureau in
Fushan district, retorted with contempt:

“What does the National ACFTU people knows about?!”

On October 20, officials of the ACFTU at the city and district level came to the factory, asking
the striking workers to go back to work. In return, they would help workers to set up a labor union.
But the striking workers insisted on the founding of the labor union before going back to work. The
Vice Dean of the Labor Supervision office of Labor Bureau in Fushan district forbade the six
workers’ representative from taking part in the election of the first labor union committee. The
striking workers turned him down. However, taking the interests of all the workers into account, the
six representatives asked the workers to go back to work and cast a vote for members of the labor
union committee. That evening, the Ole Wolff Yantai Trade Union came into being under the
auspices of the Yantai and Fushan ACFTU. 116 members elected the first labor union committee and
the financial inspection committee. Wang Zhaori was elected as chairperson, Yu Yanli as vice
chairperson, and Jiang qianqiu, as a member of the committee. All are women. Liu Meizhen and
other five workers’ representatives were left outside of the factory gate.

The newly elected leaders of the labor union wished the six representatives to continue leading
them on strike until they were restored to their posts. But the six decided to follow the suggestion of
the Fushan ACFTU, resorting to industrial arbitration to solve the dispute. Hence, the strike ended,
and the workers returned back to work. The strike lasted 13 days off and on.

 III. October 2006 to October 2007: The labor union strives persistently

On November 5, Zhang Jun wrote a handbook titled “The Elementary Knowledge of Law for
Worker” under the pseudonym “Gu Zhenghong”, hoping to “arm the OWYTU with knowledge of
the laws”. Gu Zhenghong was a worker in a cotton mill in Shanghai, killed by his Japanese employer
in 1925 when he led his coworkers to go on strike. His death kindled the first influential labor
movement wave in modern Chinese history. “Gu Zhenghong”, the pseudonym of Mr. Zhang Jun,
reminds us that he is familiar with the history of labor movements, although most Chinese seldom
pay attention to it at present.

The newly born labor union became the focus of hatred from the employer. The company still
refused to sign labor contracts with employees, also refusing to pay labor insurances. Therefore,
OWYTU, the basic trade union in the enterprise, complained to the local Labor Bureau about the
employer. As a counterattack, the company raised obstacles to the activities of the OWYTU
committee members. In accordance with relevant provision of Trade Union Law of the People’s
Republic of China, a committee member is entitled to three working days a month in which they can
handle routine affairs of labor union. At first, the company reluctantly complied with the provision
above. But, before long, the management of the company illicitly deprived the chairperson of
OWYTU of this legal right, instead deducting part of the chairperson’s wage for her supposed “being
absent from work without prior permission”. For example, on November 14, the chairperson, the
vice-chairperson and a committee member of the labor union were punished by the company as being
absent from work without justified reason, although they were away on official business participating
in relevant union procedures, appearing in court as witnesses called by the local labor dispute
arbitration committee, where the case of dismissal of six women workers was being arbitrated.
Furthermore, Ole Wolff Yantai intentionally persecuted Wang Zhaori, chairperson of the labor union
in the enterprise after she turned down both the employer’s attempted bribe and threat of punishment
as well. The chairperson was transferred to a perilous task --- the “prep post” with a high risk of hand
injury. Her hands were hurt by the job later.

The company continued to make things difficult for OWYTU by withholding union dues which the
company is supposed to allocate to the union. [6] On February 2 the Chairperson of OWYTU appealed
to the people’s court in Fushan district for enforcement of the order of payment. In response to the
union’s action the company refunded part of the union dues, but the Fushan ACFTU told the
workplace union people that since they were not legal entity the union due should be kept by their
superior, namely the Fushan ACFTU. Later, the company simply stops allocating union due to
ACFTU altogether. Therefore the OWYTU has been starved of funding until now.

In response to the demand from the workers for labor contracts, the company followed a strategy
of “divide and conquer,” announcing on February 15, 2007, immediately after the Spring Festival,
that the company would no longer provide free meals or dorms for workers who claimed the labor
contract and labor insurance, and also cut wages. The company continued recruiting new staff,
threatening that the company would fire all old hands on the expiration of the labor contract when the
newly recruited employees were accustomed to their work.

The workers expressed their extreme dissatisfaction with the action of the company. Not receiving
response to their repeated complaints from the departments of labor supervision, the workers went on
strike on March 9, demanding that the company extend their current contract for an additional year. The workers strike won the struggle on March 15. The strike had lasted seven days.

The company set up a “removing and cleaning” team in May [7]. Not having been provided with any
protective gloves, the hands of the women workers in the team were completely exposed to
poisonous benzene-containing industrial materials. Wang Zhaori , chairperson of the labor union,
negotiated with the management over the terms of the working condition, but no progress was made
in the negotiation. She admitted:

“I never felt happy since being elected as chairperson of the labor union, and I wept a lot.”
Persecuted by her employer, at last Wang Zhaori could only resign and leave the factory. On June 4,
2007, vice chairperson, Jiang qianqiu was appointed as acting chairperson of the OWYTU when the
chairperson resigned, and took charge of routine activities of the labor union.

Before long, the newly appointed acting chairperson experienced similar situations.

Women workers fainted and vomited because the company provided no protection for the
“removing and cleaning” team. On June 7, Jiang qianqiu, accompanied by 6 members of the labor
union committee, demanded that their manager provide better working conditions. The foreign
manager brutally ordered her to remove and clean spare parts in five minutes. The workers didn’t
submit, and were all fired by the company. Thus, the company fired Jiang qianqiu, the acting
chairperson of the labor union immediately.

Still, the company reluctantly improved working conditions of the “removing and cleaning” team
after Jiang qianqiu complained to the Health Office. The labor union led by Jiang qianqiu devoted
itself to guarantee the legitimate rights of the workers, which prevented the company from further
violating the law in respect to the recruitment and use of the work force.

On June 19, after Jiang qianqiu was fired, the members of the labor union committees complained
about their employer to Shi Lianqing, the Vice Director of the labor supervision office of the Labor
Bureau in Fushan district, accusing the company of retaliating against the labor union. Mr. Shi, the
Vice Director, still refused to accept and hear the case. Jiang qianqiu had no choice but to put the
complaint form she had filled out on the table. However, Director Shi replied: “it’s useless to put the
form on my table. I will not accept and hear your case.”
In the afternoon, the OWYTU complained to
the Labor Supervision Office of Yantai municipality. They were told to report the case to the Petition
Handling Office of the Bureau of Labor and Social Security of Fushan district, which Jiang qianqiu
and the committee members then did. The authorities responded by saying, “First, it’s difficult to
define “retaliation”. Even if the company retaliated against the labor union, the labor departments
don’t know how to handle the case either; Secondly, now that you accused labor supervision
departments of administrative omission, you may go to court.”
Jiang qianqiu and Zhang Jun were
dissatisfied with the reply, and resumed their efforts to protect their rights. At last they persuaded the
labor departments to issue an “Department of Labor Administrative Corrective Order” to Ole Wolff
Yantai , in which the labor departments defined Jiang qianqiu’s activities as justified to protect the
workers’ legitimate rights, and ruled that the actions of the company against Jiang qianqiu were
retaliatory in nature. However, the company ignored the order. And the Labor Bureau didn’t take any
measures to ensure that the company would follow the “Corrective Oder.”Zhang Jun pointed out, in
accordance with Article 1 of “the General Office of the Supreme People’s Court Response to ‘the
Request for Instructions on the Enforcement of the Labor Inspection Decision’” , if the employing
unit refuses to reorganize and correct the problem, the departments of labor and social security shall
enforce administrative punishment on the employing unit. However, from beginning to end, the
Labor Bureau didn’t enforce any administrative punishment on Ole Wolff Yantai.

Why did Labor Bureau officials give unprincipled support to Ole Wolff Yantai? For people who
are familiar with “China Conditions”, it’s easy to conclude that this is a problem of “local
protectionism” — local governments officials benefited from private enterprise through the latter’s
tax payment, business partnership or outright bribes, hence tend to collude with each other in
defiance of the laws and labor rights. According to unverified information, relatives of officials in the
Labor Bureau and Heath Bureau occupied management posts in Ole Wolff Yantai.

On December 24, OWYTU went to court, charging the Labor Bureau in Fushan district of
administrative omission. However, the court turned down the appeal, claiming the bill of indictment
was poorly drafted.

 IV. October 2006 to 2007: Win the lawsuit, but lose the job

In order to keep the new labor union from getting involved in labor disputes in its early stage, the
six dismissed women workers decided to appeal through the arbitration process to get their jobs back.

A hearing was held by the Labor Dispute Committee in Fushan district on November 15, 2006. On
December 18, the committee ruled in favor of the six dismissed workers.
One day prior to the date the judgment would become effective, Ole Wolff Yantai went to the
People’s Court in Fushan district, appealing to the Labor Dispute Committee to withdraw the
judgment. The real intent of the employer was to stall for time because the labor contract of the six
dismissed workers would have expired by the time the court could conclude a new verdict. On
January 30, the Fushan District Court held a hearing for the first time to hear the case. In August, the
court ruled in favor of the six dismissed:

“The Fushan District Court ruled that the work record provided by the company cannot be
accepted as evidence as it was made unilaterally and cannot verify the company’s claim. The Six
struck because the company refused to allow them to found a trade union, and their action was
legitimate. Therefore they cannot be regarded as missing work without permission. Therefore the
company’s dismissal does not have legal grounds and should be rejected. The Fushan District Court
passed its verdict on August 20, 2007 and ruled that:

1. The company’s decision to terminate labor contract with the Six should be rejected.

2. The company should pay the Six 520 yuan for the arbitration fee. The Court cost should also be
borne by the company. “

The company refused to obey the judgment, appealing to a higher People’s Court. On October 22, the
Intermediate People’s Court in Yantai city passed its verdict as follow:

“This court regarded that ….the six’ absence from work on October 7 and 8 was because the two
days were the company’s holidays; their absence from work on October 12 and 13 was because of
strike actions against the company. The four days of absence of work cannot be regarded as missing
work without permission….In summation, the company’s termination of these labor contracts is
illegitimate, and therefore should be rejected. The original verdict of the Fushan District Court is
correct and must be upheld. This court therefore ruled that:
- The appeal is rejected. The original verdict remains effective.
- The Appellant should be responsible for the payment of a 50-yuan court cost.
- This verdict is final.”

However, Ole Wolff Yantai didn’t allow the six workers to enter into the factory, thus, the
judgment of the Intermediate People’s Court turned into a mere scrap of paper. The women workers
stayed unemployed. The case was transferred to the Labor Bureau once again. Although the six
workers complained to the Labor Bureau several times, the officials denied them with various
excuses, failing to accept and hear their appeals. The Labor Bureau refused to define the company’s
action as retaliatory, claiming that the company had right to dismiss employees, and even
encouraging them to leave with the promise of financial compensation. One worker commented:

“The six workers went through dispute arbitration and won the lawsuit, but the enforcement of the
judgment was transferred to Department of Labor supervision again. The new round of bullshit
process begins again.”

The company continues to retaliate on the six workers through withholding their employment file,
in addition to refusing to provide the dismissed six official notification of termination of labor

According to China’s laws, when employers terminate contract with employees, they must:

1. Provide workers with a notification of termination of labor contract, without which no new
employer can hire the workers.

2. Transfer workers’ employment file (which includes personal history, employment history,
recorded merits and penalties, criminal records [if any], social insurance contribution etc) to the
labor bureau to keep and to transfer to new employers if the workers find a new job.

The company’s action makes these workers very difficult to find new jobs. The workers had
approached the company many times to settle the problems but they were just turned away by the

 V.2008:The Underdog is still Fighting Back

In January 2008, the management tried to oust the OWYTU leadership by organizing a fake union
election, although the current term of the leadership was far from expiration. Li Yulan, the manager
of human resource, was nominated as a candidate in the election. The company even sent some team
leaders to monitor and manipulate the process of the election. Fortunately, the labor union discovered
the plot at the very start, and the conspiracy failed because the workers boycotted it.

Meanwhile, the police or the security agency started an investigation of the activists of the labor
union. In the evening of January 25, the Fushan ACFTU invited Jiang qianqiu, the acting chairperson,
to attend a meeting in their office. Upon arrival she found out that two officials from the municipality
were there but they refused to disclose their titles. They kept on questioning her about the
background of Zhang Jun, the consultant to the Labor Union. Jiang suspected that the two persons
might be state security people. Thereafter, on February 22, policemen from the township police
station came to the house of Jiang qianqiu, and this time the target persons were herself and her

The story of OWYTU was reported by the “Yantai Evening News”, “Six O’clock in the Morning”,
Qilu Evening News”, “China Women’s News”, Shandong Radio Station, China Central Radio, Qilu
TV Station, CCTV, the official website of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions and other media,
which had brought attention from high-level officials including the secretary of the Shandong
Provincial ACFTU and the secretary of Communist Party of Yantai Municipality. However the
OWYTU has little progress in getting back their legitimate rights and the Fushan Labor Bureau and
Fushan ACFTU remains indifferent to their situation. The concerned departments told workers that
media involvement would do nothing but arouse “the panic of the concerned departments,” warning
workers off any media interviews.

The labor union had about 120 members when it came into being. Now its membership has
shrunk to 40. The company has improved treatment and working conditions because of labor union’s
struggles. However, according to Zhang Jun, “many newly recruited employees fail to recognize the
great efforts the labor union had devoted to the improving the workers’ benefits. Some don’t even
understand the role of the labor union.”
With the weakening of the labor union, the workers’
representatives were exhausted after two years’ toil. It’s now a hard time for OWYTU, without
chance of gaining more support from the newly recruited workers in Ole Wolff Yantai .

Around this time, the OWYTU made an appeal to Danish trade union movement. 3F, the United
Federation of Danish Workers, responded and made contact with its union branch in the headquarters
of Ole Wolff Electronics A/S (Denmark). On May 19, 2008, 3F had an interview with Mr. Ole Wolff.

Mr. Ole Wolff admitted that he had heard of the events that happened in Yantai but he confessed that
he could neither control the factory nor make further reforms. He also informed 3F that Ole Wolff
Yantai planned to cut the number of its employees step by step through subcontracting of new
product lines.

On June 23, OWYTU made a statement, pointing out that Mr. Ole Wolff “tried to present
himself as entirely outside of the dispute and had nothing to do with the misbehavior of the
Ole Wolff (Yantai) company”
as irresponsible and unacceptable. They requested him to
publicly condemn what his managers did in Ole Wolff Yantai by publishing a statement, and approve
the OWYTU demands at once. Mr. Ole Wolff made no response to OWYTU’s statement.

Before long, the 3F decided to step in and urged the Ole Wolff Electronics A/S to negotiate with
the workers:

Ole Wollf Elektronic A/S should
“commits itself to maintaining high standards of labor rights and occupational health and
safety comparable to Danish standards in all its operations internationally. This implies compliance
with national labor and social legislation, the international standards comprised in the 8 ILO core
conventions, the guidelines of OECD and ILO for multinational companies…(It should also)
recognizes the existing trade union at the Ole Wolff (Yantai) subsidiary and agrees that any remaining
disputes with the union will be settled through immediate negotiation with the elected trade union
representatives of local workers.”

However, Ole Wolff Elektronic A/S has completely ignored these demands. As a result, 3F
reported the event on its website, which initiates a new stage of international support. On August 28,
2008, Guy Ryder, the General Secretary of International Trade Unions Confederation, wrote to Ole
Wolff to express full support of the OWYTU. This was later followed by LO, The Danish
Confederation of Trade Unions. On August 31, the Danish National TV reported on the case and was
follow suit by other media.
On September 11, Ole Wolff Yantai finally agreed to meet with OWYTU to discuss the dispute
between them. However, the management showed no commitment at all to a genuine negotiation.

They refused the six’s demand for reinstatement. As for compensation, they only wish to pay a little
more than three month wages (the wages between October 13 2006 and January 2007), which was far
behind the expectation of OWYTU (see appendix I). They also turned down the reinstatement and
compensation for Jiang qianqiu.

On September 12, representatives of four Hong Kong groups launched a protest at the office of
Ole Wolff (Asia) Ltd to express solidarity with OWYTU. They were Globalization Monitor, Asia
Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong Liaison Office (IHLO) for the International Trade
Union Movement, and the Neighborhood and Workers Service Center.

On October 8, Ole Wolff Yantai summoned all its workers and handed them a letter, telling them:
“During this period they (OWYTU) have posted messages to the internet to discredit our company.
What is more outrageous is that they sent messages to our clients’ websites, which resulted in our
clients cutting our order this quarter, along with the loss of opportunity of developing new products.
Confronted with such serious loss of businesses, we have to take a series of measures, including cutting
expenditure and moving from the present building (4400 sq.m) to a much smaller one (500 sq.m). This
implies we have to cut our workforce until only one assembly line is left. The company will ask
employees to voluntarily resign, and we will pay them compensation in accordance to labor laws.”

The OWYTU is not going to take this. The company accused the OWYTU approached its clients
is pure invention as well. It is 3F who contacted Ole Wolff’s clients. The case is still developing.

This is probably the first reported case of workers founding their own workplace union through
strikes, and then builds up contact and collaboration with a foreign trade union to make their case
heard. This is globalization from below. We hope the international labor movement and civil society
continues to support the OWYTU and the workers there.

 Appendix I: The Request of the OWYTU

1. Ole Wolff Yantai shall acknowledge the legal status of OWYTU at once, and conduct
equal negotiations with the OWYTU.

2. Restore the dismissed chairperson and six women workers’ representatives back to their
post at once without any preconditions. For affected workers who refuse to go back, the company
shall terminate their labor contracts and compensate the affected worker for the loss caused by the
Compensation package:
- Jiang qingguang: 10 months of wages, around 12,000 RMB + social insurance
- Xie yingzhong: 13 months of wages, around 15,600 RMB. + social insurance
- Wang chuanrong: 13 months of wages, around 15,600 RMB. + social insurance
- Chu sang: 18 months of wages, around 20,600 RMB+ social insurance
- Sun qingying: 24 months of wages, around 28,800 RMB+ social insurance
- Liu meizhen: 24 months of wages, around 28,800 RMB+ social insurance

(100 RMB = 14.6 US dollars)

3. Ole Wolff Yantai shall allocate the funds of the OWYTU on time without any “pocketing”
of funds.

4. Ole Wolff Yantai shall comply with laws in its management conduct.

5. Ole Wolff Yantai stop withholding the employment files of Liu Meizhen, and issue
official notification of termination of contract to the dismissed six as stipulated by laws.

6. The OWYTU shall be consulted before the company makes any changes in its
management which might render potential impact upon worker’s employment.

August 2008

5 For recruitment information in details, please go to:
6 In accordance with law, Bureau of Labor shall end a simple case in 30 days, a complex one in 60 days.
8 In accordance with China law, the enterprise, public institution or government organ which established
a trade union shall monthly allocate 2% of total wages of all of its employees to the trade union as trade
union fund.
10 The team of removing and cleaning is in charge of a working procedure in which a worker is asked to
a) put main boards of cell phone into a container of liquid benzene; b) remove the appointed electric
units from main boards.


* Wang Jian is correspondent of Globalization Monitor.


[2For more information, please go to:

[3It was referred as “Ole Wolff Yantai” or “the company” in following paragraphs.

[4For recruitment information in details, please go to:

[5In accordance with law, Bureau of Labor shall end a simple case in 30 days, a complex one in 60 days.

[6In accordance with China law, the enterprise, public institution or government organ which established
a trade union shall monthly allocate 2% of total wages of all of its employees to the trade union as trade
union fund.

[7The team of removing and cleaning is in charge of a working procedure in which a worker is asked to
a) put main boards of cell phone into a container of liquid benzene; b) remove the appointed electric
units from main boards.

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