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China Daily Website

CPC official urges greater role for labor unions

Updated: 2013-10-18 20:49
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has called on the country's labor unions to play a greater role in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the working class.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks in a congratulatory speech delivered at the opening session of the 16th national congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

Liu urged the labor unions to "take a clear-cut stance and gain the initiative" to safeguard workers' rights of employment, insurance, health and vacation, as well as to guarantee their rights to know, participate, express and supervise.

Founded on May 1, 1925, the ACFTU is China's only umbrella union and has 31 provincial trade union federations, 10 national industrial unions and more than 1.3 million grassroots trade union organizations affiliated to it.

The ACFTU is now the world's largest labor union. It has 280 million members, 109 million of whom are migrant workers who come from rural areas and seek jobs in cities.

Like Western labor unions, the ACFTU's role includes coordinating labor relations and seeking better working conditions for its members.

Led by the CPC, the ACFTU serves as a "bridge" between the CPC and the masses and assists the government in ensuring the continuing operation of the labor market.

However, its function now faces challenges posed by a new generation of Chinese workers who are more educated and increasingly aware of their rights.

Over the past few years, strikes have broke out in both joint ventures and local enterprises in China. Workers demand better pay, improved working conditions and are more determined in protecting their interests.

In his speech, Liu called on the working class to safeguard the country's social stability and unity, maximize positive elements, dissolve negative elements and form a positive momentum of union and hard work.

"The working class should become the role model of unity and progress, and vigorously promote the glorious tradition of unity, cooperation, mutual assistance and friendship, and strengthen unity with other working people and all strata of society," he said.

Friday's session was also attended by CPC and state leaders including Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.

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