US retail giant Wal-Mart is being pressured by China's government-controlled union body to establish trade unions for thousands of employees at its 23 stores in the country.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions has contacted Arkansas-based Wal-Mart several times since its Beijing stores opened in July, but "no progress has been made in establishing trade unions."

This leaves its workers without protection of their legal rights involving wage negotiation, vacations, and discharge regulations, Xinhua said.

According to Chinese law, companies only have to set up a union if more then three workers request it.