China labor probe expands to more cities

China labor probe expands to other cities. U.S. McDonald's and KFC said they are working with Chinese authorities to resolve allegations that the companies underpay their part-time workers.

China labor probe expands to more cities

Chinalabor probe expands to other cities. U.S. fast-food chains McDonald'sand KFC said they are working with Chinese authorities to resolve allegationsthat the companies underpay their part-time workers.

Labor bureaus in southern China'sGuangdongprovince began investigating after the state-controlled newspaper New ExpressDaily reported that McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut were paying part-time workersless than the local minimum wage of about $1 an hour.

Minimum wages vary from region to region in China. The minimum wage for Guangdong province is7.5 yuan, or 97 cents, per hour.

The New Express Daily report said McDonald's was paying part-timers, many ofwhom are college students, only 4 yuan, or 52 cents, per hour. It said part-timersat KFC earned 61 cents and those at Pizza Hut earned 65 cents.

The report also accused the restaurants of demanding part-time employeeswork the hours of full-time staff but failing to pay them any full-time staffbenefits.

The companies said they were seeking clarification of labor laws, while China's government-affiliated trade uniondemanded redress, noting that probes had begun in other provinces and cities,including Shanghai.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the national umbrella group forgovernment-approved unions, is in the midst of a campaign to boost the group'spresence in foreign companies, which employ some 25 million people in China but untilrecently resisted allowing labor organizing.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency carried a report Thursday claiming thatMcDonald's Guangdong had agreed to allow ACFTU to set up branches in itsoutlets, but McDonald's China spokesman George Gu said he was not aware of anysuch decision.

McDonald's and Yum Brands Inc., which operates KFC and Pizza Hut, said theywere seeking clarification regarding recent changes in labor regulations.

"No one cares more about our workers than we do," McDonald's China said in astatement seen Thursday. "The fact is, government officials make decisionson local labor laws. That's why we continue to work with local officials to getfurther clarity on their recently amended labor laws," it said.

McDonald's Chinawas "surprised" by the allegations against it, it said, adding thatsuch claims of violations were "premature."

"To our knowledge the labor authorities have not made anydetermination," it said.

A spokeswoman for Yum in Chinasaid the company was also seeking clarification but did not have any newstatements.

In a statement, the ACFTU urged the companies to redress any underpayment.Results of the investigations were due to be released soon, it said. Tradeunion officials declined comment, referring reporters to the statements postedon their Web site.

An official at the Shanghai Labor and Social SecurityBureau confirmed his department was looking into the issue.

"We are cooperating with the local workers' union to investigate therelevant companies," said the official, who like many Chinese would giveonly his last name, Wang.

"We should take legal action if we find it is ture that they underpaidtheir employees," he said.

But the official would not comment on what kind of legal action they mighttake, saying the probe was still underway.

An official at the Municipal Department of Labour and Social Security in Guangzhou, Guangdong'scapital city, likewise threatened "proper legal action," but wouldnot elaborate.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16