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Worker protection campaign readied

CHINA'S top legislature will launch a nationwide supervision campaign to examine the implementation of a trade union law in an effort to protect workers' interests during the economic downturn.

The monthlong campaign will start this month.

As overseas trade contracts decline amid the international financial crisis, many domestic export-oriented and labor-intensive companies have struggled.

As companies try to find a way to survive, employment opportunities have dried up for laid-off workers, leading to an increase in labor disputes and complaints.

Labor dispute arbitration commissions countrywide received more than 960,000 cases last year, a 98-percent increase over the previous year, said Sun Chunlan, vice chairperson of the All China Federation of Trade Unions.

With millions of unemployed migrant workers returning to their hometowns, labor dispute mediation organizations also received more than 440,000 cases last year, Sun added.

The top legislature will send supervision teams to Shanghai along with Liaoning, Jiangsu, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces.

The National People's Congress will also mandate local committees in seven other provinces and municipalities to conduct the supervision campaign on its behalf.

The campaign will focus on reviewing how local trade unions defend laborers' interests such as wages and insurance.

It will also look into what measures local governments have taken to protect workers.

The teams will also investigate how the global economic downturn has impacted Chinese companies and industries along with the nature of disputes between employers and employees.

"We will support local trade unions to help laborers and enterprises get through this difficult period and promote the social security system by expanding the basic pension insurance," said Li Jianguo, secretary-general of the 11th NPC Standing Committee.


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