Speech at the 2021 BRICS Trade Union Forum
By Mr. Jiang Guangping,
Vice-Chair of All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU)
Beijing, 14th July, 2021
Distinguished Chair of the Forum,
Sisters, brothers and friends of the BRICS trade unions,
Good evening! (Good morning! Good afternoon!)
First of all, on behalf of ACFTU, I would like to express the most sincere greetings to all the colleagues of the BRICS trade unions, and my thanks to Indian trade union centers especially BMS for holding the 2021 BRICS Trade Union Forum under the special circumstances. The world is at the critical juncture of raging pandemic. The pandemic has brought “disastrous” blows to the world of work, 255 million full-time jobs were lost globally in 2020, millions of enterprises, and the most hard-hit groups are young people, women, informal and migrant workers.
Last year when the 9th BRICS Trade Union Online Forum was held by St. Petersburg, Russia, we have actively responded on the impact of the pandemic on labor markets and on the role and tasks of unions, which has contributed to the enhanced solidarity and cooperation among peoples and unions of BRICS countries, to the joint fight against the pandemic, to the economic restart as well as to the employment generation. Hereby, I hope BRICS unions colleagues can uphold the shared values for humanity of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, in the spirit of cooperation, openness and mutual benefits, advocate the guideline of “putting people first” in building the future of work, facilitate the recovery of economy and industrial production and the development of universal, comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection systems in BRICS countries, ensure decent work and holistic development for all and make new contribution to the building of a community of shared future for mankind.
China’s efforts in resuming work and production and actions of Chinese unions on the occasion of the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
The year 2021 witnesses the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). On 1st July, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered an important speech on the grand gathering celebrating the centenary of the CPC, looking back on the glorious journey the Party has travelled over 100 years of struggle and looking ahead to the bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we’ve realized the 1st centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that we’ve brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides towards the 2nd centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. The Chinese workers’ movement has been growing under the direct leadership of the CPC. In July 1921, the first resolution made by the CPC is the deployment on leading workers’ movement and establishing unions. On 1st May 1925, the CPC convened the 2nd National Labour Congress, announcing the formal establishment of the ACFTU. Over the past centenary, the working class in China has been riding the tide, playing an prominent role and qualification further enhanced. At present, the number of skilled workers has reached over 200 million, highly-skilled workers over 50 million, with an array of model workers and advanced workers emerging. The Chinese unions have ever-growing coverage and full-fledged organizational systems. There were 110 plus unions and 340,000 union members 100 years ago when the 1st National Labour Congress was held. Now, there are about 2.8 million grassroots union organizations and nearly 300 million union members. The Chinese unions have become the national union center with the largest union members and the largest organizational scale in the world.
China has made remarkable achievements in restarting economy and eliminating absolute poverty. In the face of the sudden outbreak of the pandemic, China has been putting people’s life safety and health first, and has taken measures in a scientific and well-targeted manner to timely contain the pandemic, gradually resume normal life and work, and to stabilize the economy for the better. The national economy has a good start in the 1st quarter of 2021, with the GDP reaching a high of 18.3%, the demand for production continuously improved, employment and price stabilized, new impetus for growth gaining steam, quality and efficiency enhanced and market expectations taking on a rosy picture. In the 1st quarter of 2021, 2.97 million new jobs were created in urban areas, fulfilling 27% of the whole year’s target; the urban unemployment rate in March was 5.3%, achieving relatively full employment.
China has taken up the responsibility of promoting global cooperation in fighting the pandemic. In the unprecedented fight against the pandemic, with limited production capacity and huge demand facing itself,China has carried out large-scale global humanitarian actions, displaying the responsibility that a responsible major country should assume, and has contributed significantly to the global cooperation against the pandemic. On 21st May, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced in the Global Health Summit that, China will, in the next 3 years, provide another 3 billion USD in international aid, to support developing countries to fight the pandemic and restore economic and social development. China has supplied over 500 million doses of vaccines globally and will provide more vaccines to the best of its capacity. China supports its own vaccine enterprises to conduct technique transfer and production cooperation with other developing countries. China has already declared its support for the intellectual property right exemption of the Covid-19 vaccines and also supports WTO and other international agencies to make the decision at an early date. China advocates the set-up of an International Forum for vaccine cooperation, involving countries, enterprises and stakeholders in vaccine R&D and production to jointly discuss how to promote fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines at global level.
Chinese unions have been active in the epidemic prevention and control and the resumption of work and production. In the face of the impact of the pandemic on people’s work and life, the Chinese unions have resolutely implemented the concept of putting people and life first as instructed by General Secretary Xi Jinping and actively participated in the global cooperation against the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Chinese unions have mobilized workers to join in the efforts of pandemic prevention and control and the resumption of work and production. A lot has been done, which includes: guiding workers and enterprises to properly settle labour disputes through collective bargaining; allocating over 2 billion RMB yuan as the fund for pandemic prevention and control, and visiting more than 5 million frontline personnel for pandemic prevention and control; putting in place union fund support policy for small and micro enterprises, which benefited 630,000 enterprises; intensifying the efforts on special campaigns to unionize truck drivers and deliverymen and to promote enterprises of over 100-staff-member scale to set up unions, with a focus on giant enterprises in the platform economy; pressing ahead with the reform on industrial workers’ capacity building in the new era with the aim to enhancing the qualification, social status and the scale of industrial workers.
Proposed Actions for the Future
Dear friends, sisters and brothers!
I would like to put forward the following proposals:
-- Upholding the concept of “win-win cooperation” by deepening BRICS cooperation against the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month during the 109th session of the International Labour Conference, Mr. Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO, pointed out that the pandemic has provided “more convincing” reasons for multilateral cooperation and the whole world is aspiring for more effective international cooperation. “We are waves of the same sea,” only through international cooperation and joint actions can we prevent and address global major public emergencies. “We need to have global health cooperation, instead of working alone. This is a important lesson the pandemic has taught the world.”
-- Strengthening exchange and cooperation by forging BRICS partnership in the new industrial revolution. The new scientific and technical revolution and industrial transformation are in full steam. We should take measures to protect the labour rights and social security interests of workers’ in new employment forms, urge enterprises to shoulder due responsibilities and obligations and calling on governments to assume the ultimate responsibilities. Firstly, adapting to new business types and promoting multiple forms of labor relations that are conducive to protecting the rights and interests of workers; Secondly, requiring enterprises to pay labour remuneration on time and in full without setting performance indicators that peril workers’ occupational safety and health; Thirdly, exploring the social security schemes on occupational injury for flexible employees. Fourthly, developing vocational training modalities tailored for new employment forms.
-- Upholding multilateralism by building a community of shared future for mankind. Multilateralism is an effective pathway to peace and development. For a long time, international organizations such as the UN have done a lot of work for maintaining overall world peace and sustainable development. The BRICS unions should also make joint efforts in safeguarding the UN-centered multilateral institutions and in enabling international labour governance proposals to be more consistent with the national conditions of developing countries, thus better securing workers’ rights in developing countries.
The Chinese trade unions will, as always, be committed to the development of BRICS Trade Union Forum mechanism, promote “BRICS plus” cooperation, provide more opportunities for newly-emerging market economies and developing countries to join in global governance, unite union organizations of various countries including BRICS countries, facilitate the implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the goals of the ILO Centenary Declaration, and contribute to the building of an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
In the end, we support the draft statement of the BRICS Trade Union Forum and the amendment of the FNPR and have already provided our amendment to BMS by email. Next year, China is going to take the presidency of the BRICS. We hope the pandemic situation will be better so that we can meet face-to-face with each other.
Thank you for your attention!