Beijing labor union unveils measures to champion workers' unions at platform firms
Published: Sep 01, 2021 11:40 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

The Beijing General Labor Union recently rolled out a set of measures to champion efforts to institute workers' unions at platform firms, the Beijing Daily reported Wednesday. This is the latest sign that the country is pulling out all the barriers to mobilize its gigantic platform economy and contribute to the national efforts to reach common prosperity.

Along the burgeoning rise of new business models exemplified by the platform economy over recent years, truck drivers, ride-hailing app drivers, food and parcel couriers, among other workers relying on internet platforms, have become a new yet significant component of the workforce. 

At its half-year work conference, the Beijing General Labor Union unveiled an implementation plan to push for trade unions among companies known for their expertise in new business models. The plan is intended to boost the influence of Party organs and trade unions, expand the effective coverage of trade unions and safeguard workers' legitimate rights and interests, the report said.

Platform firms that have 25 employees or more and a Party organ will be urged to establish trade unions, with major internet platform firms and express delivery firms and their subsidiaries and affiliated firms expected to spearhead the push for trade unions.

It is expected that workers will have special communication meetings during breaks and before meals, which will be prepared close to express delivery warehouses and department stores where merchandize and food couriers tend to gather, according to the report.

These trade unions are intended to attract the wide enrolment of these workers who can join the unions either on-site, online or by telephone. 

Some internet behemoths have already moved to promote trade unions with their employees. For instance, Beijing-based online retailer hosted the inaugural meeting of its trade union members on Monday.

Such moves are part of wider efforts to direct the platform economy toward more sustainable growth, thereby rendering big tech as a vital contributor to the country's vision to achieve common prosperity.

Speaking at Nomura's China Investor Forum inaugurated on Tuesday, Shi Jialong, head of China Internet and New Media Research at Nomura, said that "despite all the recent regulatory actions on China's internet sector, the primary goal of Chinese regulators is not to crack down on the internet industry or curb its growth. Instead, we think the regulators are appreciative of the positive role Chinese internet companies have played over the past two decades in fostering technological innovation and economic growth." 

"The authorities are also likely anticipating internet to be an agent of change by fulfilling social responsibilities and embracing fair competition instead of pursuing monopolies... but we believe the internet industry, known for its resilience, should be able to adapt to the new environment quickly and resume healthy growth," said Shi.