Daqing Oilfield Workers’ Struggle (2)

27 June 2019

(Broadcast on 5 March, 2002)

While workers from Daqing Oilfield continue their demonstrations over their terms of retrenchment, what is the response from the Daqing Municipal Government and the Heilongjiang Provincial Federation of Trade Unions (HLJFTU)? We first look at the Municipal Trade Union.

Union:

I don't know much about it.

Han Dongfang (Han):

Haven't the Municipal Trade Union intervened?

Union:

No, no. The DPAB knows that we hold separate jurisdiction.

Below is a statement from the deputy director of the HLJFTU.

Director:

At far as I'm concerned, I have no idea about the situation.

Han:

Shouldn't the Trade Union of DPAB have reported to you about such an important matter?

Director:

Yes, it should have been. But I am not informed. Perhaps our department of information and reception know about it. Our chairperson is not here, and I am really not informed. According to our rules, any instability among the workers should be reported to the senior level. There is such a machinery of fore-warning. Our chairman is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and has gone to Beijing to attend the congress.

Faced with such an official trade union, the retrenched workers from the DPAB have opted for their own way out. They have elected their representatives to set up a provisional trade union committee which has led the workers from disorganized protest actions to a rational and peaceful organized struggle. Below is an interview with the same cadre (we spoke to earlier on) from the municipal government of Daqing, in which he talks about what he knows about the situation of the provisional union.

Cadre:

They have now set up a Committee of the Provisional Trade Union of Retrenched Workers. They have even staged a march!

Han:

Have all the members of this Committee willingly come out in public?

Cadre:

Yes, they have. All in the open. Their names are known, nothing is hidden.

Han:

How does this provisional union committee compare to the official one...

Cadre:

One is for workers, another for the capitalists. They are completely different. That's it.

Han:

So this is a union belonging to the workers?

Cadre:

Yes, this is a union of the workers.

Han:

What about the other one?

Cadre:

That is a union of the capitalists. The one belonging to the workers is called "Committee of the Provisional Trade Union of Retrenched Workers of the DPAB.

Han:

Has there been an election?

Cadre:

Sure. The members of the Committee are all recommended. The situation has been a bit out of control during the first two days, but it is OK now. At the beginning, there was some radical behaviour. The doors were smashed; all the spitoons in the building were broken, and the railings on the upper floors were damaged. There were fewer people then, only about three to five thousand. The climax took place yesterday, with about 50,000 workers.

Han:

The workers' actions have become more peaceful. Does it have anything to do with the Committee of the Provisional Trade Union?

Cadre:

Yes, that's the case according to analysis.

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