February 26th, 2011 | China Daily SASAC urges greater safety for workers
The State asset regulator on Friday urged central State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to increase protection of the country’s workers, especially those working abroad, amid rising chaos in some Middle Eastern and North African countries.
“Central SOEs should strive to ensure their (workers) security, especially those working in overseas markets” and improving their well-being, in areas such as accommodation, said Huang Shuhe, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).
In recent years, the number of Chinese workers employed abroad has been rising rapidly. The number of workers employed by China’s central SOEs is currently 6.8 million, and most of them are working abroad, according to SASAC.
The situation in some countries, such as Lybia, has become chaotic because of social upheaval, and the security of Chinese workers in those countries has become an issue for the media.
Huang made the comments at a meeting on improving the administration’s work in safeguarding the rights and interests of workers, many of whom have moved from the rural areas to work in the cities.
Sinohydro Corporation, the State-owned construction group, has constructed a number of restaurants and hospitals at its overseas worksites for its workers.
SASAC’s Huang also said that domestically, central SOEs are obliged to provide equal salary and promotion opportunities for migrant workers from the countryside.
“Farmers-turned-workers play a very important role in central SOEs,” Huang added.
The deteriorating security situation in Libya has seen China send planes to the country to evacuate Chinese citizens.
As the political turmoil in Libya grew, a site run by China’s Huafeng Construction Co Ltd in eastern Libya was attacked by armed looters.
Shao Ning, vice-chairman of SASAC, said on Wednesday that most of the central SOEs’ businesses abroad are located in places where the political and economic situations are often unstable.
More than 3,000 employees of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and Sinohydro Corporation, the majority of whom are Chinese – have already been evacuated from the North African country.
China Shipping Group has sent three rescue freighters, which are now waiting at a port near Libya, to evacuate Chinese nationals.
By Bao Chang