Better relations to curb workplace frustrations

08:51, May 31, 2010      

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Young workers at Qingdao Jifa Group, a large-scale knitting company in Qingdao, a coastal city in East China’s Shandong province, perform street dances at the fi rm’s Worker’s Club.[Liao Xiaopeng/For China Daily]

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) has urged its branches nationwide to improve psychological counseling for young workers, after 13 workers at Shenzhen-based Foxconn attempted to commit suicide this year, resulting in 10 deaths.

The ACFTU said on Saturday that China is experiencing a special period of economic and social transformation and labor problems should be timely and effectively addressed to ensure social stability.

The Federation focused on "maintaining stability in work and society", and demanded its branches at all levels to "safeguard the rights and interests of workers" and "develop harmonious labor relations".

It also urged companies to set up a collective wage negotiation system, raise pay for workers, and allow company trade unions to safeguard employees' rights.

While there is a trade union in Foxconn, and the "trade union chairman hotline" is printed on the back of every badge given to employees, the organization has been silent during the spate of suicides.

The ACFTU also called for decent working and living conditions and highlighted psychological counseling and care for young workers, especially the new generation of migrant workers.

Media reports reveal Foxconn workers, mostly young migrant workers born in the 1980s and 1990s, are suffering from stress and loneliness, due to poor pay, harsh management, and lack of social relations.

On Saturday, Wang Yang, Party chief of Guangdong, called an accident analysis meeting with local authorities in Shenzhen.

Wang said the Party, government organizations and Foxconn must "work together and take effective measures to prevent similar tragedies from happening again."

"Economic development should be people-oriented," he said.

"Trade unions in private firms should be strengthened to facilitate better working conditions and more harmonious relations between workers and employers," Wang said.

Wang also said that more recreational and sports activities should be held among workers to enhance communication and more effort should be made to help workers cope with pressure.

Foxconn is part of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co and makes computers, game consoles and mobile phones for companies including Hewlett-Packard Co, Sony Corp, Nokia Corp, and Apple Inc.

Of Foxconn's 800,000 employees in the Chinese mainland, 430,000 are based in Shenzhen. They work in shifts and live inside a massive factory complex.

<i>Source: China Daily(By Xie Yu)</i>


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