Trade unions worldwide should strengthen exchanges to better protect workers' rights as globalization speeds up, said Tadayoshi Kusano, general secretary of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, on Sunday in Beijing.
Kusano made the remarks when he attended a gathering of several hundred Chinese and Japanese unionists to mark the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two neighboring countries.
"Across the world, the conditions of workers are becoming more difficult. Unemployment is up and their lives are hard," said Kusano. "International co-operation and exchange should be improved to find final solutions to the problems," he said.
Kusano said China's trade unions can play a bigger role in helping the government and international agencies solve labor problems now that China has become a World Trade Organization (WTO) member.
He is now in Beijing with 377 Japanese unionists to participate in two days of activities, including labor, employment and environmental workshops.
Along with 300 Chinese union representatives, they are scheduled to plant trees beside the section of the Great Wall near Beijing's suburban county of Yanqing on Monday.
At the gathering, Xu Xicheng, vice-chairman of the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), said trade union co-operation between China and Japan is not only beneficial to the Chinese and Japanese workers but also to the stability and peace of the world. Xu echoed Kusano's concerns about the worldwide unemployment trend, and the Chinese federation had earlier expressed its concerns as well.
"The most important and direct impact of WTO membership on workers will be on their employment," said Zhang Junjiu, ACFTU vice-chairman, at a workshop on China's entry into the WTO and its social implications that was organized earlier this year.
China's WTO entry is bound to push up unemployment figures while the State is restructuring industry, Zhang said.
(China Daily September 2, 2002)