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Trade unions to see 8m more rural migrant workers join

Updated: 2006-10-16 09:41
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China's trade unions expect to recruit eight million rural migrant workers in each of the next three years, an official with All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) said on Sunday.

"Hundreds of millions of migrant workers have become an important part of the Chinese workforce and they are helping drive economic and social development, so it's imperative to safeguard their rights," said Sun Chunlan, vice chairman of the ACFTU, at Sunday's national conference on protecting migrant worker's rights.

Sun said migrant workers who join trade unions will have their rights better protected. She says union members are usually better paid and that union officials will ensure the migrant workers are paid extra for working overtime and their medical insurance premiums are paid.

Twenty-three million rural migrant workers belonged to trade unions at the end of 2005, representing only 20 percent of the total rural migrant labor force. During the first half of 2006 about 6.5 million migrant workers joined trade unions, and that number is expected to hit 10 million by the end of the year.

Statistics show there are more than 200 million farmers-turned workers and that number grows by 13 million every year.

Sun said it's difficult representing workers who float from construction job to construction job often times moving to different cities.