Keynote Speech to 2014 International Forum by Chen Hao

Fellow trade union leaders,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning!
Just now, Li Jianguo, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Chair of the ACFTU, delivered a most gracious speech. He spoke highly of the accomplishments of these forums over the past decade, expounded on the theme of the present forum, and recalled that it is our common aspiration to realize the dreams of workers, our common objective to promote social equity and justice, and our common purpose to protect workers' rights and interests. It follows that trade unions from different countries need to strengthen cooperation and make concerted efforts to advance reform and development. His remarks provide insightful guidance for this forum.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the International Forum on Economic Globalization and Trade Unions. Although each forum has had a different theme, the issue of how to protect the rights and interests of workers has always been at the core. This forum's theme is “Promoting Reform. Pursuing Development. Realizing a Shared Dream”, consistent with the concepts of previous forums and current world economic and social development trends, reflecting the vision of the vast mass of workers. I expect we will have in-depth discussions on this topic and explore strategies to better protect and develop workers' interests.
Over the past 30 years of reform and opening up, China has adapted to world development trends in meeting the expectations of the people. Centring on economic construction, it has taken development as the priority, reform as the incisively powerful driver for development, and benefiting the general public as the aim and outcome of all work. Thus China has registered remarkable achievements in economic development, continuously reinforcing its overall national strength and significantly improving people’s livelihoods. It has entered a decisive stage for establishing a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The Chinese nation endeavours to achieve the Chinese dream of its great rejuvenation. Against growing downward pressure on the economy since this year, we have promoted economic development, restructuring, improving people’s livelihoods and risk management through deepening reform, and economic and social development has maintained overall stability. In the first half of the year, GDP has grown by 7.4% year-on-year, and newly increased urban employment totals 7.37 million. Though some major economic indicators have dropped compared with last year, they are still within rational range. China remains the most vibrant economy with the greatest potential, and the Chinese people, including the vast labour force, have confidence in national economic and social development. Chinese trade unions play an important role in economic and social life, and they constitute a strong social force pushing forward reforms and development, making great contributions to the cause of establishing socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. Let me offer you an introduction to the basic situation and main experience of our trade unions participating in reforms, promoting development and safeguarding the rights and interests of workers.
First and foremost, we keep a firm grasp on the theme of the contemporary workers' movement. In October last year the 16th National Congress of Trade Unions was held, which identified achieving the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as the theme for the workers' movement of our era. Centring on this theme, we actively cultivate and advocate the core values of socialism, guide workers to pursue the national objective goals of prosperity, democracy, civilization and harmony of their own will, adhere to the social values of freedom, equality, justice and rule of law, and follow the individual code of conduct, i.e. patriotism, professional ethics, integrity and kindness, laying a solid moral foundation for achieving the Chinese dream. We have widely conducted an education campaign about the Chinese dream and high-quality work, informed people of the content and prospects of the Chinese dream as well as the great accomplishments around reform and opening up, and encouraged workers to incorporate their own ideals and family happiness into the lofty cause of state prosperity and national rejuvenation, and realize their values and personal goals as part of this endeavour. We have advocated the labour spirit and concept and created a culture that regards labour as glorious, respectable, grand and beautiful, something that enables workers to obtain more social respect, instill their passion and creativity, and pool wisdom and power in the the pursuit of the Chinese dream.
Second, we have led workers in promoting sustained and healthy economic development. Development is key to solving all problems in China. The path China seeks is one of scientific development that respects the laws of economics, sustainable development that respects the laws of nature and inclusive development that respects social laws. To this end, China has brought forward a model accelerating the transformation of development, readjusting the economic structure and implementing an innovation-driven development strategy. To achieve this target, we have carried out various labour competitions, guiding workers to become masters of enterprise development and state development and willingly devote their talents to development. We have advanced a campaign to build quality, strengthen vocational training, conduct technical collaboration and exchange activities, and organize training to upgrade skills. Technical innovation activities both with trade union features and oriented towards a mass audience have been conducted, for example small inventions, gadgets, smart devices, new designs and advice aimed at facilitating energy saving and mitigating pollution, boosting the quality and efficiency of enterprises and promoting their sustained and healthy development.
Third, we have always encouraged positive energy with a view to deepening reform on all fronts. Reform and opening up are a crucial step in defining the destiny of contemporary China. The target outcome of reform is to promote social equity and justice and improve people’s livelihoods. The reform and opening-up approach is also deeply rooted in the general public and motivated by the people. The working class is the main force for deepening reforms on all fronts. Chinese trade unions regard reform as their own task, identify the relationship between deepening reforms and delivering benefits to workers, and guide workers to actively support and participate in reform. We attach great importance to participation work at source, putting forward suggestions on behalf of workers on issues like enterprise reform and reorganization, income distribution system reform, public institution reform, social enterprise reform and urban and rural social security system reform, mobilizing behind a raft of reform measures and laying a solid mass foundation for this cause. We are forging ahead with trade union work innovation, strengthening capacity building for grassroots organizations, scaling up basic work, enhancing basic capability and building up grassroots trade unions, making them more representative and cohesive. We have set up specialized institutions to  study and research reform issues, actively communicate with government, express the expectations of workers, and make proposals to let workers shoulder responsibility for reform and share its benefits.
Fourth, we have firmly upheld the legitimate rights and interests of workers. It is a fundamental duty for trade unions to protect the legitimate rights and interests of workers. In promoting reform and development, trade unions in China have held high the banner of rights protection, emphasized the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and served them wholeheartedly. We adhere to rights protection in line with laws, actively take part in labour legislation work, participate in law enforcement by people’s congresses and inspection by government, strengthen trade union law supervision, and require employing units to assure their employees' entitlements. This year sees the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China. We are using this as an opportunity to conduct a legislation education campaign, raise awareness about safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of workers in society as a whole and guide workers to protect their own rights in light of laws. We have constantly improved rights protection mechanisms with a focus on the labour contract system, collective contract system and workers' congress system, and we have promoted collective wage bargaining in accordance with the laws. We have a firm focus, safeguarding workers’ rights to employment, skills training, income distribution, social security and occupational health and safety. We pay close attention to the impact on workers of economic restructuring and phasing out of outdated capacity, and take targeted measures. We have put in place a worker service system, providing living assistance, medical aid, legal aid and other services to meet the actual needs of workers and make a concrete difference to their lives.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,
The world today is undergoing profound and complex changes. Faced with different and emerging global challenges, all trade unions and stakeholders should seek consensus, increase synergies, facilitate reform and promote development to meet the ever increasing material and cultural demands of workers. To this end, I would like to make the following proposals.
First, to realize our dream, trade unions in different countries need to promote reform and development. Reform and innovation are the eternal topics of human society, and are the persistent engine for economic and social development. Still today there are unjust and irrational factors in the global management system, world development is yet to become full and balanced, and there are still large development gaps between countries, regions, classes and ethnic groups. The key to the pursuit of common development and the beautiful dream is to reform and innovate. All trade unions should follow this trend, promote reform and innovation, push forward economic reform and restructuring in all countries, and advance strategic readjustment and technological innovation in enterprises. We should fully participate in the reform process in the economic, political, social and other fields, put forward workers' views, facilitate improvements to the state and social management system, and promote social equity and justice. We should uphold the concept of common development and push for reform to the irrational international economic, financial and political order and international society. We should advance inclusive development, making it possible for reform and development to be adapted to the interests of different sides so that the dividends of globalization can reach all countries and regions, all ethnic groups, people of different classes and people of all countries, and vast numbers of workers can share the benefits of reform and development.
Second, to realize our dream, trade unions need to deliver benefits to workers. It is our common mission to protect their rights. Currently the world economic situation is complicated: developing countries lack the momentum for recovery, emerging countries are witnessing a growth slowdown and there are  growing tensions in labour relations and many challenges for workers’ rights protection. All trade unions should enhance their service awareness and rights protection capability, and make unremitting efforts in the interests of workers. Social participation and dialogue should be strengthened. We should encourage governments to establish a system with fair rights, opportunities and rules, continuously improve labour policies, including the labour standards and labour relations regulation mechanisms and workers’ rights protection. Based on realities in our own country, multilevel collective consultation should be stepped up to facilitate improvement in the employment situation, income, working conditions and welfare of workers. Trade unions should strengthen services to workers in all respects, organizing mutual relief activities and providing targeted assistance to migrant workers, young workers and women workers to help them enhance their employability and entrepreneurship capability, relieve work and life stress, and realize decent work and a happy life.
Third, to realize our dream, trade unions need to cooperate for a win-win scenario. With the trend towards globalization, all countries’ interests are intertwined, as are their fates. Mutually beneficial cooperation should be the basic policy orientation for handling international business, and should be followed in the international workers' movement arena. All trade unions should establish an awareness of their common mission and interests. While promoting national development and protecting their own workers’ rights, they should join forces with each other and form a merger of interests. We should enhance mutual understanding and respect the development path chosen by other countries' trade unions in line with their national conditions and reality rather than impose our will or model onto others. We need to promote friendly exchanges, learn from each other, and properly address different challenges with concerted efforts. We should strengthen coordination and consultation in international labour affairs, respect the concerns and interests of all sides, make the international workers' movement more democratic, rational and considerate of the rule of law, and promote economic and social development and workers’ rights protection in all countries.
Chinese trade unions will uphold the banner of peace, development, cooperation and workers’ rights as always, stick to the principle of “independence, mutual respect, seeking common ground while reserving differences, and strengthening cooperation and friendship” and continuously deepen sound cooperation with trade unions at the national, regional and global levels. Let us join hands, surmount the difficulties, and make new contributions to safeguarding workers’ rights and achieving our beautiful dream.
Thank you.
  Source: ACFTU  2014-09-24

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