Submitted by hasbrochem in China

[partially cleaned up machine translation, my chinese isn't good enough to do a better job]


In November 2015, Xi Jinping personally presided over the 18th meeting of the Central Deep Reform Group and adopted the “National Trade Union Reform Pilot Program”. The focus of trade union reform has two aspects. First, in the work style, it is necessary to remove the bureaucratic spirit of the "unorganized, administrative, aristocratic, and entertaining" of the trade unions, that is, to "four modernizations"; Enhance the "political, advanced, and mass" of trade unions, that is, increase the "three characteristics."

Three and a half years have passed, what is the effectiveness of the reform of the Trade Union?

Has the bureaucratic style of trade union staff at all levels improved? Has the working class feelings of trade union staff improved? Has the number of cadres from the workers in the trade unions increased? Are trade union cadres from workers still closely linked to the workers? Has the initiative and ability of trade union cadres at all levels to coordinate labor-management relations have improved?

Does the trade union make a difference in actively coordinating labor relations and avoiding labor conflicts? In the incident of collective action of workers, has the trade union effectively played the role of representative of workers' interests? Are the grassroots organizations of trade unions, especially the trade union organizations, tend to be sound and out of the control of the boss? Is the grassroots trade union capable of collective bargaining on behalf of workers and employers?

In order to answer the above questions, the China Labor Newsletter will select a group of events from the “Workers' Collective Action Map” and call the General Union of Trade Unions and related enterprise trade unions. Through these dialogues, the actual situation of Chinese trade unions is presented to workers, trade union cadres, trade union workers and government policy makers. We hope that, on the one hand, encourage trade union leaders and staff at all levels to walk out of the “ivory tower” of the trade unions and take the initiative to enter the labor-management relationship, on behalf of enterprise workers to fight for and safeguard rights and interests through collective bargaining. On the other hand, encourage and guide the vast number of workers from all walks of life to participate in the unfamiliar “ivory tower” of the local trade unions and actively participate in the trade union reform. At the same time, government policy makers are more aware of the importance of trade unions and the space needed for trade union reform.

Simply put, we hope to prevent this trade union reform from once again becoming a fake reform.

In this issue, we selected Hubei Province from the “Workers' Collective Action Map” of the China Labor Newsletter.

In December 2018, Hubei Province recorded six collective action incidents of workers. In addition, in January 2019, there was one worker incident in Ezhou City, Hubei Province. We successfully contacted the General Union of the five incidents.

The workers went on strike, where is the union?

The trade union reform went to the "four modernizations" (that is, the removal of institutionalization, administration, aristocratization, and entertainment), and it was aimed at the bureaucratic style and attitude of the leading cadres and staff of trade unions at all levels. In other words, the "four modernizations" of trade union reform is to improve the efficiency of the daily work of trade unions at all levels.

The reform of trade unions has increased the "three characteristics" (ie, enhancing political, advanced, and mass), and it is aimed at the ability of leading cadres and staff at all levels to neglect the class feelings of the working class and not to negotiate on the interests of workers. Get rid of the workers and other issues. In other words, the "three-characteristics" of trade union reform is to enable all trade union leaders and staff to politically accept the socialist core values ​​and have the class spirit of the working class; in terms of ability, they can represent the workers. Collectively negotiate with the employers of the enterprise to strive for and improve the rights and interests; in terms of legitimacy, the leading cadres at all levels of the trade union must come from the masses of workers and never leave the workers.

What is the status of the “union reform” of the local federation of trade unions in the five workers’ strikes in Hubei Province?

Wuhan Baoli Shangcheng Project Department arrears

Yichang Ronggongguan site pays wages

Wuhan entertainment plus media female anchor pays

Xiaogan radio and television workers pay

Ezhou Zhongjian Third Bureau arrears

The reform of trade unions in Hubei Province removes the "four modernizations" and enhances the "three sexes"

The local trade unions involved in the five cases in Hubei Province have made varying degrees of progress in removing the “four modernizations”.

Entertainment: not found.

Organization, administration, and aristocratization: Most trade union workers are sincere. Although most of the local trade unions are unaware of the strikes and actions of workers who are on their side, they can still clearly indicate that the trade unions are willing to help workers. From the past inaction, the local trade unions are willing to help workers to protect their rights, which is a big step forward.

Political, advanced, and mass:

The "four modernizations" of trade unions at all levels can improve the efficiency of trade union workers, but they cannot establish the status of trade unions. The identity of the trade union is reflected in the political nature of the staff (with socialist core values, working class emotions), mass (from the masses of workers, not from the workers, always regard themselves as a member of the workers), advanced ( Ability to maximize the benefits on behalf of workers).

In the conversations of most local trade union staff, they still do not feel that they have socialist core values. In the specific work of the trade unions, the local trade unions are still far from labor relations, and the enterprise trade unions are still under the control of the boss and management. With the absence of trade unions, workers can only make demands through collective actions such as sit-ins, roadblocks, and strikes.

It is worth mentioning that the Hongshan District Construction Industry Federation of Wuhan City has been at the forefront of the province's trade unions in terms of enhancing political, advanced and mass.

Observation and impression

  • The organization of labor unions at all levels in Wubei Province is still based on the method of employers' construction and workers being admitted.

  • The understanding and implementation of trade union workers in the labor unions in the northern part of Hubei Province still remain at the level of rights protection after the infringement. Even after the infringement, the union just waited for the workers to come to the door.

  • Some local union workers understand the trade union work as a “sentimental” transmission, rather than a subject that protects workers’ rights and avoids the escalation of labor and capital conflicts.

  • Some local trade union staff still regard the trade union as an extension of the government petition office, which makes the trade union lose the motivation and space for active action.

  • work arrangements of grassroots trade unions in the northern part of Wuhu Province were reversed. Some local trade union staff were arranged to send warmth and turned a blind eye to the labor conflicts that occurred around them.

  • “Regional management” seems to have become a shield for union inaction.

  • union reform that is most needed is innovative and to try from the grassroots. However, in Hubei Province, some grass-roots trade unions “have to ask the leaders of higher-level trade unions” to stifle the innovation vitality of grassroots workers.

Trade unions at all levels in Hubei Province have still not been able to guarantee workers' rights through collective bargaining on behalf of workers and employers or industry associations. Therefore, the main way for workers in Hubei Province to make demands is still collective action such as sit-in, blockade, and strike.

Worthy of praise is:

  • Workers at the Yichang Ronggong Building in Wuhan City actively seek the help of the trade union when they are in arrears of wages;

  • In the Xiaoxiao City, the employees of the radio and television industry, the trade unions have been involved;

  • Xiaogan City Federation of Trade Unions help workers and business center representatives in some cases on non-payment of social security to intervene;

  • The Xiaogan City Federation of Trade Unions established the "Taxis Drivers Union" and the "Truck Drivers Union";

  • Hongshan District of Wuhan City Federation of Construction Workers Union Chairman Lu proposed the construction workers in accordance with reality have three fears: a fear of wage arrears, second, fear of illness, three fears the injury. That is, construction workers are most concerned about the issue of wage redemption, medical care and safe production security. What is more valuable is that Chairman Lu can express his disagreement directly to the Director of the General Political Research Office.

Suggestions on the reform of trade unions in Hubei Province

Recommended Hubei Provincial Federation of Trade Unions:

  1. Abandon the employer's consent to establish a union in the province. Especially in the construction industry, construction workers should be directly organized to join the association, and the membership is connected to the province.

  2. It is necessary to give full play to the innovative vitality of grassroots trade union workers and return the trade unions to the protection of workers' rights and avoid the identity of labor conflicts.

  3. In the province's construction industry trade unions discuss the construction workers' "three fears" proposed by Chairman Lu Hongshan Construction Industry Federation of Trade Unions (one afraid of wage arrears, two fear of illness, three fear of work-related injuries), combined with member information networking, promote the construction industry collective negotiation.

Recommended government departments at all levels in Hubei Province:

  1. When a strike occurs, workers should be encouraged to seek union representation on their behalf and resolve the issue through negotiation.

  2. The role of the police at the scene of labor conflicts is to maintain order and avoid intensification of conflicts. The arrest of infringed wage-earners not only does not have a so-called deterrent effect on workers, but also makes the government lose its neutrality.

Suggested workers in Hubei Province:

It is recommended that workers in various industries and regions should go to the trade unions at the first time when they are infringed on their rights and interests, and ask the trade unions to represent the workers and safeguard the rights and interests of the workers.



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