Sharp remarked 25 years later: "Seldom is
Canada in a position to give international
leadership. This time we did so."
Thirty years after the founding of the People’s
Republic of China
By communicating with the ACFTU, engaging
in exchanges and dialogue
By being frank about how unions work in
Canada in a capitalist society: how we
organize workers; how we represent workers
on the shop floor; how we bargain contracts;
and how we strike to win our demands from
BEIJING, Sept. 1, 2010 (Xinhuanet) -- Amid rising concerns over trade unions'
role in better protecting workers' rights and interests, the Beijing municipal
trade union's move to liberate grassroots trade union chairs from their economic
dependence on employers marks an important step forward.
The capital's trade union will establish a special fund to pay grassroots
[workplace] trade union leaders. That will hopefully make grassroots trade
unions more independent in their negotiations with employers, when workers'
rights and interests are violated.
Before the 1980s, State-owned enterprises offered welfare packages to take care
of almost everything in workers' daily lives. Trade unions then were actually the
ones providing welfare services. Now, different forms of private businesses
have become an important part of the country's economy. Employers can ignore
or even violate the rights and interests of workers when their major concern is to
pursue maximum profits. There are instances of employers firing trade union
leaders who pressured them over workers' rights and interests. Trade union
leaders can even side with employers instead.
As such, the Beijing union is working for the direct election of union leaders or
have such leaders sent by higher-level unions. This will help ensure that they
will be paid not by employers, but by unions. The leaders will then have less to
fear of in helping the workers. Despite all possible resistance, this plan is to be
put into practice.
“China has undergone tremendous change in
the past few decades…In this context of change,
would not more worker-to-worker and union-
to-union exchange be positive? Through more
dialogue with Chinese workers and unions, the
…labour movement could promote mutually
beneficial labour solidarity, move beyond the
cold war and unilateralism, and refocus
attention on the domestic and global
corporations and associated institutions that are,
in fact, the main threat to workers throughout