HR Policy Global Members Discuss Labor Challenges and Solutions in China

July 23, 2021

Key takeaways of our recent HR Policy Global webinar on China include the need for employers to collaborate with local employees and integrate global supply chain due diligence into their company’s risk management strategies. 

Ruud Van Der Wel, Head of Global Employee Relations at Maersk, and Auret Van Heerden, Founder & CEO of Equiception, led the webinar, during which the speakers emphasized that China remains an attractive market for businesses but also pointed out various challenges global employers are facing there.   

Effective collaboration and communication with local employees:  All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the sole legally recognized union, cannot always properly represent workers.  Therefore, employees lacking a formal channel, often turn to social media to voice concerns.  Speakers advised members to proactively communicate with workers to seek a solution with or without a formal union.  Mr. Van Der Wel explained how, in a case in which workers demanded hours in excess of labor law limitations, his company arrived at a solution by understanding and meeting their needs while complying with international labor standards and local safety and health rules. 

Integrating global supply chain human rights due diligence into risk management framework:  Intensified tensions between China and the United States have made forced labor issues in Xinjiang a focal point, requiring business leaders to pay more attention to their global supply chains and labor concerns.  Companies are advised to implement a consistent due diligence process across their global supply chains and conduct ongoing audits of their suppliers to ensure compliance with company codes of conduct.  Additionally, businesses should stay vigilant about legislative and regulatory changes regarding business and human rights where they operate and source. 

HR Policy Global continues to monitor this important market:  According to a recent survey by HR Policy Global, our global members have the most non-U.S. employees in China, and China is where they have the highest level of concern.