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Unions Urged to Protect Rights of Workers

Top unionist Wang Zhaoguo has urged trade unions to protect the rights of working people, by increasing the number of union members and further consolidating unions under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Wang Zhaoguo, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and president of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, made the remark Sunday at the Third Plenary Session of the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the federation.

In 2004, efforts will be made to develop grassroots unions and try to protect the rights of workers, Wang said. Unions of all levels should unite to bring their advantages and roles into full play, he added.

Zhang Junjiu, vice president of the federation, ordered grassroots unions to elect their leaders democratically.

Currently, China has 134 million trade union members, with less than 60 percent of employees enrolled as trade union members, according to Zhang. Between 2004-2008, the number of trade union members will increase by 33 million, or 6.6 million every year, he announced.

As of this June, Chinese trade unions have set up 200 assistance centers to help poverty-stricken workers.

So far, these centers have assisted over 1.6 million poor workers, helped 311,000 find jobs, trained 192,000, financially aided 192,000, and distributed 172 million yuan (US$20.72 million), according to official figures.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2003)

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