Chinese Paper Violated Labour laws, Concludes Labour Board

February 8, 2012 Updated: February 8, 2012

Ontario’s labour board has concluded that the Toronto Chinese newspaper Ming Pao acted in violation of labour laws in dealing with its employees.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board said in a report released last week that the paper, owned by a multinational corporation in Hong Kong and Malaysia, threatened the job security of employees and laid off employees in reprisal for forming a union.

Ming Pao’s 140 unionized workers had walked off the job last September to push for an agreement on regulating their wages, length of workday, job security, vacation, and other benefits.

The striking employees were ordered back to work late last year by the board, which blamed the failure to reach an agreement on the employer’s “uncompromising” bargaining position and sent the case for arbitration.

In its 24-page report, the board said Ming Pao also violated the Ontario Labour Relations Act in a number of other areas including:

– Granting wage increases for the purpose of urging the employees to oppose the union

– Soliciting grievances during the organizing campaign and providing safety equipment and altered sales department guidelines

– Attempting to initiate the creation of an employee committee during an organizing campaign (considered interference in the formation of a trade union)

– Altering the way it conducts its sales business by moving sales from outside sales employees (account managers/executives) to inside sales employees (client services representatives)

The board ordered Ming Pao to reinstate the 10 laid off employees with full back pay and compensation for lost commission.

In 2009, Ming Pao closed its eastern U.S. edition based in New York and western U.S. edition based in San Francisco due to the economic crisis. In North America, the paper currently publishes in Toronto and Vancouver.

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