Union accepts migrant workers
( 2003-09-03 08:59) (China Daily)
All Chinese rural migrant workers who work in cities away from their homes can join branches of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), nationwide, said an ACFTU official last week.
"They are always moving around and their rights and interests are vulnerable. They will be better protected if they join the federation," said Guo Wencai, director of the department of grassroots union building of ACFTU.
In the past, the federation would admit only city workers.
With the establishment of a market-based system, China has been witnessing ever larger labour migrations. More than 100 million Chinese farmers have poured into cities and towns to improve their living standard.
Guo said migrant workers are a rising force and are important new members of China's working class.
"We will make every effort to get migrant workers into the federation," he said.
Statistics show a total of 34 million migrant workers have joined branches of the federation at various levels but still many migrant workers remain outside the federation.
In order to safeguard their legal rights and interests, rural migrant workers have spontaneously established various organizations for themselves with help from local governments. These organizations will be taken over by the federation as members of ACFTU.
"Our principle is that where there are workers or rural migrant workers, there should be a union," said Guo.
Joining procedures for migrant workers are identical to those for other workers. They can become members of ACFTU simply by submitting an oral or written application.
A circular issued on August 9 stipulates that all migrant workers are legally entitled to join the trade union, irrespective of their household address and work experience. Hindering and limiting their entry, by any individual or organization, is illegal.
In Beijing, the city trade union has set up a special institution responsible for the union affairs of migrant workers. The union requires construction enterprises which have been registered in Beijing for more than one year to set up a union branch before June of 2004.
The construction industry is a field where migrant labourers often suffer hard working conditions, inferior safety protection and infringements of their rights as labourers.
The ACFTU was established in 1925 and boasts over 131 million members across the country.
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