Nordic country trade unions in dialogue with ACFTU of China
Helsinki (23.02.2011 - Juhani Artto)
In mid' February representatives of the largest union confederations* of the
five Nordic countries and the official Chinese union organization ACFTU held
a two-day seminar in Helsinki. Under discussion were major global
issues, such as the economic crisis, unemployment, corporate social
responsibility and collective bargaining. Also climate change, migration and
international cooperation of the trade union movement were on the agenda.
"The world has changed and mutual dependence has grown. China now plays a
central role in the global economy and this is something that the Nordic
countries must also recognise", Lauri Lyly, the President of the host
organization SAK stated in his opening speech.
Olli Koski, SAK’s chief economist, underlined the crucial fact that the
current economic crisis has hastened and accelerated the shift of economic
focus towards the fast-growing developing economies. Koski went on to say
that this change has also had an important and added
psychological dimension. In short, the western model is no longer regarded as
the only option.
"The ideological monopoly of the western model has broken down", Koski
maintains. He hopes the trade union movement will endeavour to act as a
constructive force in the reshaping of the new economic model. "The goal has
to be a more just and more balanced system that is able to distribute wealth
in a more equal manner."
Li Hanquan, representing the ACFTU, shared these views.
"Let's turn globalization towards the direction of balanced development,
mutual gains and win-win results, promote sustainable social and economic
development, and fight for the working people's equal share in the world
economic development", Li outlined.
The Chinese participants spoke repeatedly on the need of decent work and on
the need to protect employees in precarious positions.
The seminar between the Chinese and the Nordic country confederations was
the third in a row. The two previous meetings were held in December 2006 and
March 2009 in Beijing.
The Nordic unions firmly believe that dialogue with the Chinese union
organization is preferable to efforts to isolate it, as was done in the
past. "SAK has good bilateral relations with the ACFTU", Marjaana Valkonen,
the Director for International Affairs of the SAK says.
*LOs from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, ASI from Iceland and SAK from Finland