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Unions pledge help to survivors
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The All-China Federation of Trade Unions is calling on member branches across the country to assist survivors and rural migrant workers affected by the May 12 earthquake.

Trade unions will provide financial aid to allow children from families affected by the earthquake to complete their education, Xu Deming, the federation's vice-chairman, said at a press conference over the weekend.

The federation already has established 130 free "entertainment rooms" in quake-hit zones to alleviate survivors' pain and depression. Each room is equipped with a TV, a selection of books and magazines, chess boards, and gym facilities.

Chen Jieping, vice-director of the federation's social security department, said trade unions have additionally begun to help survivors find employment.

Chen said many in the region lost their jobs after the earthquake, and numerous local businesses are facing suspension or bankruptcy.

The federation has identified 200,000 job vacancies in seven eastern provinces and municipalities.

It plans to disseminate information about these opportunities to survivors through special job fairs.

When possible, the federation has intervened to help workers keep their old jobs. Chen estimated that 4 million rural migrant workers from Sichuan have returned to their homes, and prior work, after the earthquake.

"Trade unions have negotiated with their employers to keep their positions," he said.

To help families pay for quake-related damages, "some private enterprises have agreed to raise migrant workers' wages", he said.

(China Daily June 17, 2008)

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