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Chongqing Protects the Rights of Workers in New Forms of Employment


Chongqing- Workers are widely distributed, flexible, and highly mobile in new employment forms (such as the gig economy). How can they protect their rights and interests? Sun Yutao, Vice Chairman of Chongqing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions, recently provided answers.

The organization serves as the leading organ of the local trade unions in districts and counties and industrial unions at the municipal level.

An overview of Chongqing at a skyrise scenic platform on the WFC. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

Q: What is the situation of workers in China’s new employment forms?

A: The number of employees in China’s secondary industry decreased by 11.5 million, and the number of employees in the tertiary industry increased by 29.61 million from 2015 to 2020. Especially in the tertiary industry, many new employment groups represented by truck drivers, online ride-hailing drivers, couriers, and takeaway couriers have emerged.

Compared with 2015, the number of employees in the tertiary industry increased by 29.61 million in 2020. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

According to the State Information Center, there were about 84 million sharing economy service providers in China in 2020. Compared with works in the traditional sense, this group is featured with a platform-based organization. Internet-based work opportunities mean fragmented working hours, employment contracts of de-labor relations, strong mobility, and uncertain income.

There were about 84 million sharing economy service providers in China in 2020. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

SF Express staff Huang Houqiang, 37 years old from the countryside, has two daughters, who have moved with him to the city area of Chongqing. He feeds his family by delivering packages. (Photo/ Chen Yi)

Q: What challenges will the new forms of employment bring to union work?

A: For such a large group, it is impossible to simply follow the old model and inherent methods facing problems such as difficult identification of labor relations, lack of social security, poor living conditions, low level of organization, and difficult right relief. 

This requires strengthening active contact and care for service improvement methods with new forms of employment workers, including freight drivers, takeout riders, couriers, and online car-hailing drivers, and exploring suitable ways of building and joining a union and right protection services.

Q: What security policies have been introduced for workers in new forms of employment?

A: At present, the central government and the city have introduced many relevant safeguard measures.

Relevant guiding opinions, issued last year by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and other eight ministries and commissions, put forward normative opinions on standardizing employment, clarifying labor rights protection responsibilities, complementing labor rights protection shortcomings, optimizing labor rights protection, and improving the working mechanism of labor rights protection.

For example, in view of China’s current work-related injury insurance system, the guiding opinions start from determining labor relations and setting out requirements for standardized employment.

If it meets the situation of establishing labor relations, the enterprise shall conclude labor contracts with workers according to the law; if it does not, but the enterprise carries out labor management for workers, it shall guide the enterprise and workers to conclude a written agreement to determine the rights and obligations of the enterprise and workers.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions clearly stated in relevant opinions that it is necessary to accelerate the establishment of labor unions for new forms of employment and to attract workers of new forms of employment to join trade unions to the greatest extent.

China promotes workers of new forms of employment to join trade unions. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

Eleven departments, including the Chongqing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and the Chongqing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions, clearly stipulated that the rights and obligations of both parties who rely on the platform shall be adjusted with civil laws to independently carry out business activities and engage in freelance work, etc.

If the platform enterprise adopts cooperative employment methods such as labor dispatch and outsourcing, it and the cooperative enterprise shall bear corresponding responsibilities in accordance with the law.

(Wang Lu, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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