China union calls for regular wage hikes
National union leaders said on Friday they would to secure regular pay rises for workers across the country to counter the effects of surging consumer prices.
Zhang Mingqi, vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), said it has been working with government departments on a mechanism to ensure stable pay rises for workers so they can benefit from the country's economic boom.
A recent survey by the federation found that more than 26 per cent of China's workers had not received a pay rise in the past five years, despite the economy growing at an averaged 10.6 per cent annually.
"We are trying to bring pay rises in line with economic growth," Zhang told China Daily.
"Trade unions should speak up for workers and protect their rights."
China's inflation surged to a 12-year high of 8.7 per cent last month, and people across the country, especially those on low incomes, have felt the strain.
National think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a recent report that years of paying low wages had helped Chinese firms boost their profits and increase their competitiveness. The report said the ratio of overall labor costs to GDP fell to 41.4 per cent in 2005, from 53.4 per cent in 1990.
“We are facing many problems in income distribution," Zhang said.