The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lost your job' Float a business in China

Beijing, Nov. 11: The latest advice to workers from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions : if you have lost your job and can’t find another, be a businessman.

Zhang Junjin, deputy chairman of the federation, who is an important leader attending the current congress of the Chinese Communist Party here, not only gave the advice today, but outlined the path for the laid-off worker who would be a businessman.

There are four basic points to the strategy. Such a would-be businessman will receive concessions over four kinds of taxes and bank loans with subsidised interest in the first three years of his new business.

Second, he or she gets special benefits for businesses in the tertiary and service sectors. Third, unemployed men over 40 and women over 50 will get subsidies from the social security funds for community work.

And, finally, the retrenched workers from the state-owned units get income tax exemptions and bank loans for new ventures.

Labour minister, Zhang Zu Yi, who addressed a press conference this afternoon jointly with the federation boss, made it clear that the jobless workers in China had no other course open to them.

Faced with rising unemployment both in the cities and in the villages, the government has introduced new employment policies that have thrown old notions of job security to the winds. The new employment ideas lay greater stress on “part-time, casual and seasonal work and flexible arrangements in working hours”, the minister said.

Not mincing his words, he warned that the present employment “pressure” will continue “over a period of time”.

The trade union federation is struggling to keep its head above waters, as more and more jobless workers turn to demonstrations, sometimes violent, all over the country. The federation launched a “Warmth Project” to help laid-off wokers five years ago and raised a total of 10.4 billion yuan until now and helped 17 million retrenched workers find re-employment. But the task is becoming increasingly more difficult even for the huge party-trade union network. Hence the advice to workers to turn to their own businesses.

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