The top legislature has begun reading the draft law on labor dispute mediation and arbitration amid an increasing number of instances of disputes throughout the country.
The draft law was submitted on Sunday to the seven-day 29th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's top legislature, for the first reading.
According to NPC statistics, labor dispute cases in China have continuously increased in recent years. Statistics show that labor dispute arbitration organizations at various levels dealt with 1.72 million labor dispute cases involving 5.32 million employees from 1987 to the end of 2005, with a growth rate of 27.3 percent annually.
Xin Chunying, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee said other problems also exist. For instance, personnel from some arbitration organizations were either not properly trained and lacked credibility, leading to unnecessarily drawn out and costly arbitration.
Chinaresumed the labor dispute arbitration system in 1987 and formed procedures to cope with labor disputes as "mediation, arbitration and trial" after the regulation on handling corporate labor dispute and Labor Law were promulgated in 1993 and 1994.
The procedure and practice for dealing with labor disputes has been widely accepted by the public, Xin said.
The draft bill is for strengthening mediation and improving arbitration so as to help fairly solve labor disputes without going to court and thus safeguarding employee's legitimate rights and promote social harmony, she said.
The draft bill said corporations are entitled to establish labor mediation committees to solve labor disputes. The corporate labor mediation committee should consist of employees and representatives of managerial level.
When labor disputes occur, litigants can turn to the corporate mediation committee, or grassroots people's labor disputes mediation organization, the draft bill said.
The draft bill said labor disputes concerning pay, medical fees of job-related injuries, compensation, pensions not exceeding 12 months of local minimum monthly wages could be solved by arbitration.
Labor disputes on working times, holidays, insurance and collective contracts could also be solved by arbitration with legal effects, the draft bill said.
(China Daily 08/28/2007 page 4)
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）
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Jonathan Stewart is a media and journalism expert from the United States with four years of experience as a writer and instructor. He accepted a foreign expert position with chinadaily.com.cn in June 2007 following the completion of his Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Comparative Politics.