Political adviser draws attention to grassroots workers

(Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:49, March 04, 2024

Su Bin (left) listens to the suggestions from a takeout delivery man at a care station during the Spring Festival holiday. [Screenshot from CCTV News]

It's a regular activity for Su Bin, a national political adviser, to reach out to grassroots workers and listen to their voices as he forms his suggestions for the country's top political advisory body with a focus on better protection for the rights and interests of workers in new forms of employment.

One recent visit took place during the past Spring Festival holiday when many couriers and deliverymen kept working as usual. At a rest station for delivery riders in Beijing, Su took advantage of the workers' lunch time to learn about their situations and collect suggestions.

"More rest stations for couriers and deliverymen are welcomed and the locations should be easy to find," said deliveryman Han Zhipeng.

"Everyday meals are affordable, but what burdens me most is the housing rent. I hope there can be more preferential policies to ease our rent burden or more affordable rental houses," said other riders.

Sitting together with dozens of deliverymen at the meal table, Su listened carefully and promised them he would bring their concerns and suggestions to discussion during the annual gathering of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which will open on March 4 this year.

As a work habit, Su never uses notebook in front of the grassroots workers. Instead, he keeps the points in head and notes them down afterwards.

"It might make them hesitate to share their true thoughts and feelings," Su explained.


Su Bin (left) listens to the suggestions from a delivery rider during the Spring Festival holiday. [Screenshot from CCTV News]

Workers in new forms of employment include couriers, takeout delivery riders, ride-hailing drivers and other related occupations. According to the Ninth National Survey on the Status of the Workforce, the number of such workers has reached 84 million in China, accounting for 21 percent of the total.

Since last year, Su has visited near 30 cities in 18 provinces for surveys about these workers and a number of their employers.

Through investigations, Su found that the workers have a strong sense of gain in general. However, part of them cannot enjoy the benefits of the social security system due to the characteristics of their jobs, such as incomplete labor contracts, vague labor relations and flexible working hours.

Their main concerns vary from wages, labor security, occupational health and vocational training. To address these issues, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has taken the lead in establishing labor consultation and coordination mechanisms in several major internet enterprises, providing the laborers with more tools to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests.

Su suggested that, while protecting the workers, the government should also create a favorable external environment for the development of platform enterprises, guiding them to establish sustainable business and profit models, so that the creation of more new job opportunities can be ensured.

"The employers and the employees, the concerns and benefits of both sides should be considered equally," said Su.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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