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More support urged for workers hit by China's industrial restructuring

By  Jiang Chenglong | | Updated: 2018-04-10 20:11

China's top labor union has called for more support to help workers find or create jobs, especially during the ongoing efforts to cut capacity in the steel and coal industries.

"We should focus more on workers' rights and interests when resolving overcapacity in steel and coal, as well as during industrial consolidation and reorganization," Wang Xiaofeng, spokesman for the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, said on Tuesday.

"Authorities should also make plans to support worker re-employment or retraining in accordance with their needs. Labor unions in eastern areas should also cooperate with northeastern China on employment, where the overcapacity reduction task is heavier."

Still affected by the 2008 financial crisis, as well as an outdated industrial structure, some sectors have seen a serious oversupply problem, especially those with high consumption and emission levels such as steel, coal and cement.

In recent years, governments at all levels have been working to trim overcapacity. In 2016, the State Council issued two guidelines to fight against excess steel and coal production, demanding a reduction of nearly 500 million metric tons of coal and 100 to 150 million tons of steel in three to five years.

Cutting overcapacity in certain industries means a number of workers will likely become unemployed. According to China Labour and Social Security News, the central government's overcapacity reduction plan in 2016 affected 1.8 million steel and coal workers.

Wang said trade unions at various levels should enhance technical training and continue to provide employment services. "We offered career services to 12 million workers in 2017," he said.

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