Due diligence investigation needed after auto parts supplier avoided paying the promised wages and contract gratuity to hundreds of hourly workers

In late March 2024, the auto parts supplier Chongqing Huguang saw a large number of hourly workers gathering outside the factory gate to protest against the factory’s failure to arrange work shifts, which meant that workers could not complete enough working hours to receive the gratuity. Factory security with helmets and restraining poles were seen confronting the workers on online videos.

China Labour Bulletin (CLB) found that Chongqing Huguang’s parent company is a supplier of auto OEMs including Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. CLB identified several possible labour violations, regarding its employment practices, excessive working hours, and union’s inaction. German companies in its downstream have a responsibility to conduct due diligence in accordance with the requirements of the German Supply Chain Act.

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Garment workers’ unions must engage global brands on impacts of changing business strategies on workers’ rights

The global apparel industry’s contraction has led to widespread protests in China and Southeast Asia. In this article, China Labour Bulletin (CLB) illustrates workers’ collective efforts to defend their rights during the 2023 market downturn. CLB argues that international garment brands should be involved in monitoring suppliers’ labour practices across vast production networks. Workers and unions need to utilise new due diligence legislation and tools to coordinate and fight against a global challenge.

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Auto workers bear the brunt of competition and EV transition in Chinese market, international just transition initiatives provide valuable lessons

In 2023, China Labour Bulletin (CLB) recorded a peak of collective actions in the auto industry since 2015. Intense competition and EV transition hit workers of various companies. Worker grievances include layoffs and lack of severance pay, overdue payments, reduced wages and increased workload. Just transition initiatives by German and US unions are worth learning.

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Auto supplier workers in China have a new way to voice grievances, as the German supply chain act came into force

In 2023, strike cases were recorded in Chinese auto parts factories supplying for German multinationals. Causes include relocations, overdue payments and contaminated food. As the German Supply Chain Act came into force in 2023, the large German auto companies downstream have to ensure their suppliers comply with the human rights and labour rights standards. China Labour Bulletin followed up on a strike case by urging Volkswagen to investigate the potential labour violations, and the communication is ongoing.

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Bridging Workers’ Rights in China’s Manufacturing Sector with Global Supply Chain Tools: A Case-Oriented Approach

CLB analyses the post-Covid changes in China’s manufacturing industry from a workers’ rights perspective, describes our data collection and case investigation methodology, and introduces how we have begun to interact with stakeholders along the supply chain through this approach. Finally, we provide recommendations for suppliers, brands, and members of civil society to join in our approach, with the goal of collaborating for improved global supply chain practices.

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