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Union Federation Aids Migrant Workers

Migrant worker Liu Zejiang was all smiles last week as he counted his long-overdue salary.


The local branch of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) helped the 35-year-old from southwest China's Guizhou Province to collect his 2,000 yuan (US$240).


"We feel at home in the federation since it has helped migrant workers get their money," Liu said.


Since the branch was established four months ago, around 5,000 migrant workers have joined.


The federation in Guizhou Province is one among many across the country that are helping migrants who have gone to the cities seeking a better life, according to Gu Changsheng, an ACFTU publicity official.


Trade union organizations at various levels have set up hotlines since October of last year to help workers voice their complaints. By the end of December, more than 60,000 complaints from workers nationwide had been received.


"All the problems they complained of have been resolved properly," Dong Li, director of the ACFTU's Financial Auditing Committee, said at Wednesday's press conference in Beijing.


Besides safeguarding workers' rights and interests, the federation also helps laid-off workers find new jobs.


The federation now operates 1,763 aid centers across the country to offer needy workers job opportunities, legal services and policy consultations. The ACFTU is assisting the government in supervising the implementation of its regulations on payments of salaries.


Another priority for the federation is to provide small, low-interest loans to laid-off workers to start small private businesses.


Looking ahead, priority will be given to providing training to those who are not competitive in the job market owing to age and lack of skills. The ACFTU, together with the International Labor Organization and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, plans to train 50,000 laid-off workers in the next three years.


Ahead of the Lunar New Year -- China's big Spring Festival holiday -- coming up on February 9, 15 ACFTU official teams have been sent to cities and towns to give those in need cash and essentials. A total of 35 million yuan (US$4.2 million) in cash and materials has been budgeted for this year's holiday assistance.


(China Daily January 6, 2005)


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