Trade unions try hard to help laid-off workers find jobs

China's trade unions have played a major role in the re-employment of redundant factory staff, and in the past five years, over 4,000 trade union-run job centers have helped more than 3 million find new jobs.

Delegates attending the current 14th National Congress of Chinese Trade Unions have called for greater focus on the issue of re-employment.

"Reforms are necessary for increasing competitiveness on the market, but companies must protect the interests of their employees," said Zuo Shanhu, a delegate and chairman of the municipal trade union of machinery and electronics industries in Shanghai, the country's largest industrial base.

Zuo said he is satisfied about the central leadership's attitudes toward the issue of re-employment of factory staff.

Top leaders have encouraged trade unions to safeguard the rights of workers and called for creating a sound environment for the unions to fulfill their duties.

Trade unions must be informed of the plan for the arrangement of layoffs, before a company carries out redundancies, the union official said.

China's unemployment problem is serious. According to official figures, this year, 6 million factory staff were laid off, in addition to 10 million people who have just reached the working age and nearly 8 million registered jobless people.

The central government has requested that more effective measures be taken to deal with the issue. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions has stressed that reforms must be supported, but dismissal of employees must be properly managed.

In Shanghai, local trade unions have been involved in professional training for laid-off workers, to ensure they find new jobs. Local companies are obliged to spend a sum of money, about 1.5 percent of total salaries, for the job training programs.

Over the past few years, the central government has allocated huge funds for re-employment. This year alone, the central government allocated 3.3 billion yuan (almost 400 million US dollars) for the purpose. The funds were raised through issuance of government bonds.

Moreover, the central government will provide local governments with 10 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars) for the payment of bottom-line subsidies for factory layoffs, and another 4.7 billion yuan (about 566 million US dollars) for the transfer payment of funds to help these people.

However, Huang Xiaoying, a delegate from Xiamen, Fujian Province, east China, complained that in localities, redundant staff often did not receive the preferential policies issued by the central government. She urged local departments concerned to help trade unions with re-employment.

People's Daily Online ---