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Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 10 News List

China labor disputes rise as economy slows: media

AFP , BEIJING

The number of labor disputes in China has soared amid the global financial crisis as laid-off employees seek salaries owed to them by suddenly defunct companies, state media reported yesterday.

A total of 98,568 cases involving labor disputes were filed in Chinese courts in the first three months of this year, up 59 percent year on year, the China Daily said, citing figures from the country’s supreme court.

“Amid the global financial crisis, the number of businesses going into the red or going bankrupt continues to grow, leading to more disputes over salary claims,” Du Wanhua, a top official with the court, was quoted as saying.

Du said the rise was also likely due to the introduction last year of a labor contract law that provided a more solid legal footing for complaints and increased workers’ awareness of their rights.

The newspaper said the increase followed a 93 percent surge in such cases last year to 286,221.

The World Bank last month forecast China’s economy would grow 6.5 percent this year.

That would be its slowest expansion in nearly two decades and well below the 8 percent level that Chinese leaders say is needed to keep enough people in work and to avoid unrest.

The economy, which grew 9 percent last year, has slowed sharply amid the collapse of overseas markets for China-made goods due to the world economic downturn.

Thousands of factories and other businesses have failed in recent months, throwing millions out of work and leading to protests in some areas as angry workers demanded back pay owed by failed companies.

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