German and Chinese industrial sector trade unionists exchanged experiences concerning structural change

Event: Social Justice and Trade Unions

Between October 26th and November 1st, 2016, a board level delegation from IG Metall visited Beijing as well as the northeastern province Liaoning, which is currently heavily struck by structural change. The program consisted of official consultations with both high-ranking staff of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions headquarters in Beijing and Liaoning provincial level as well as practical company visits in Beijing, Dalian, Anshan and Shenyang.

The IG Metall delegation consisted of six members both from IG Metall headquarters as well as chairpersons of workers councils in German companies from the industrial sectors. The delegation was led by Mr. Wolfgang Lemb, executive member of the board of IG Metall.

On October 26th 2016, official consultations took place with trade unionists from different departments and authorities within All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). The exchanges were very honest and open. Controversial topics such as the overcapacity in China’s steel production and resulting claims of the EU of export dumping by China as well as Europe’s position on Chinas market state status were discussed. Furthermore, both sides exchanged experiences and ideas on questions of trade unions roles in structural change, further education and training as well as organizational reforms of trade unions and trade union federations. The discussions continued during a dinner on invitation by ACFTU vice-chairperson Jiao Kaihe.

On October 27th 2016, the IG Metall delegation was welcomed by officials of the China Institute of Industrial Relations, where Mr. Wolfgang Lemb held a speech on the trade unions participation in structural change and industrial policies at the China Institute of Industrial Relations in front of trade unionists, scholars and students.

The delegation additionally consulted with the trade union federations on provincial level of Liaoning as well as city level trade union federations of Dalian and Shenyang in the following days.

In order to receive more insights into the situation of trade unionists, companies and workers in the northeast of China the delegation visited a variety of companies and discussed current challenges and opportunities during the economies structural change with representatives of management and company level trade unions. Among others, the Beiyi Machine Tool Plant in Beijing, Dalian Huarui Heavy Industry Group, Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation in Anshan as well as BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang were visited.

Along the stations of the China visit, the German Ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, and the Consul General in Shenyang, Peter Kreutzberger, and a German journalist briefed the IG Metall trade unionists.

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