TUC writes to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang calling for release of trade unionists

Author
Report type
Letter
Issue date
22 Aug 2018

Premier Li Keqiang

The State Council of the People's Republic of China

No. 8, Yuetan South Street, ​​​​

Xicheng District,

Beijing Peoples’ Republic of China 100017

22 August 2018

Dear Premier Li

Release and drop charges against Shenzhen Jasic Workers in Guangdong province

I am writing to you on behalf of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), almost 6 million members of our affiliated unions and British workers, to strongly condemn the arrests and detentions of several Shenzhen Jasic Technology Co. Ltd. workers in Guangdong province on 27 July 2018.

We would like to express our deep concern to their current conditions and query the legitimacy of their respective arrests. By establishing their own trade union to defend their labour rights in a lawful manner, the arrested workers are simply exercising their rights to freedom of association as guaranteed by Article 3 of the 1992 China Trade Union Law. Thus, such arbitrary arrests and detentions are blatant violations of their basic labour and civil rights.

The right to freedom of association is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20). And according to Article 2 of International Labour Organisation Convention No. 87, workers shall have the right to establish and to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation. As a member of the United Nations and the ILO, the People’s Republic of China is obliged to respect and observe the basic principles of freedom of association.

Regrettably, your government’s recent exercise of state power to suppress the workers' right to organise their own union, in accordance with the law, and instructions from the upper-level union demonstrated an approach contrary to such principles. Moreover, Articles 9, 10, & 11 of the 1992 China Trade Union Law are in themselves a violation of freedom of association. Under such stipulations, it is impossible for trade unions to organise independently in accordance with the principles laid down by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ILO Convention No. 87.

We therefore call on the Chinese Government to:

1. Immediately release all the arrested JASIC workers and their supporters;

2. Drop all criminal charges on the arrested JASIC workers and their supporters;

3. Remove all measures placed on the arrested JASIC workers and their supporters that may restrict their civil liberty;

4. Allow the JASIC workers to form trade union without any state hindrance.

Yours sincerely

FRANCES O’GRADY

General Secretary

cc: H.E Mr Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in London