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Trade unions launch Beijing Consensus
By Qing Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-11 21:14

Trade unions all over the world should enhance their co-operation and explore ways of working together to tackle the challenges posed by economic globalization, an international meeting in Beijing agreed on Monday.

The issuing of the Beijing Consensus wrapped up the two-day International Forum on Economic Globalization and Trade Unions.

Wang Zhaoguo, president of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), said at the closing ceremony that rapid economic globalization has brought opportunities and challenges to the international trade union movement.

Chinese trade unions are willing to strengthen exchanges and co-operation with foreign counterparts, said Wang, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Pointing out that trade unions around the world are organized in various ways, he said that there is no single model for organizing trade unions and it is impossible to have one.

He said all trade unions and international trade union organizations should respect every countries' model for the operation of their trade unions and the national development policy based on their national reality.

To this end, the trade union movement should overcome differences in ideology, culture and religion and international affiliation, and promote exchanges and dialogues between trade unions, seek common ground while putting aside differences, strengthen solidarity, enhance friendship and promote co-operation, he added.

Zhang Junjiu, vice-chairman of the ACFTU, noted the free global flow of commodities, technologies, information and capital, coupled with the rapid development of multinational companies, has made it more difficult than before for trade unions to protect the rights of their members within one country.

He said that the vast numbers of trade union organizations in developing countries are a major force of the international trade union movement, which shoulders the important responsibility of representing and protecting workers' rights and interests.

Statistics show that there are now 63,000 transnational companies with 800,000 affiliated branches, 93 per cent of whose headquarters are in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Transnational companies attempt to bring their own model of labour relations to the target countries of their investment, said Vladimir Shcherbakov, general secretary of the General Confederation of Trade Unions of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

He said it is very important to establish strong trade unions in transnational companies, raise common demands in collective agreements and exchange information.

The forum discussed the impact of economic globalization on the international trade union movement and the development of the international trade union movement.

Leaders of the World Federation of Trade Unions, the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions, the General Federation of Trade Unions and the ACFTU took part in the forum.

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