By: Ruth Domoney
Labour Behind the Label

China is now the world's biggest exporter of textiles and garments. Its factories supply almost all UK high street shops and its market share is predicted to increase over the coming years. The following information provides an overview of the Chinese garment industry, the situation for garment workers and recent developments influencing the sector.


Abbreviations used

The Structure and Workforce of the Chinese Garment Industry

The context for Chinese workers

♦ Economic Liberalisation since 1979
♦ Internal Migration Laws
♦ Oversupplies of low skill labour
♦ Chinese Labour Law

The All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU)

• Membership and recruitment
• Relationship between local branches, the ACFTU and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
• Labour dispute mechanisms
• Challenges facing the ACFTU

Working Conditions in the Chinese Garment Industry

• Exploitation of migrant workers
• Restrictions on Freedom of Association

Recent Developments

↔ Collective Contracts
↔ Changes to Trade Union Law
↔ Increasing labour disputes and unrest
↔ Launch of CSC9000t Code of Conduct

Addressing the problems faced by Chinese garment workers

• Parallel Means
• Worker Training
• The Chinese Government

The EU and WTO position on trade with China

List of references

Labour Behind the Label Briefing on the Chinese garment industry, February 2007

Abbreviations used

ACFTU �C All China Federation of Trade Unions
ATC �C Agreement on textiles and clothing
CCP �C Chinese Communist Party. National Government of China
CNTAC - China National Textile and Apparel Council
FoA �C Freedom of Association
OHS �C Occupational Health and Safety
MFA �C Multi-fibre arrangement
SOE �C state owned enterprise