Township Workers Also Need
China Daily, January 21, 2000
Senior officials and experts agreed yesterday at an international
seminar in Beijing that China needs to establish a nationwide pension
system for its large number of employees working for township enterprises.
The government enforced its pension system throughout the urban
population last year, but left 125 million employees working for 20
million township enterprises at the end of 1998 still uncertain if a
strong pension system was in place, they said.
"The development of township industries inevitably calls for the
establishment of a pension system for their employees," Liu Yazhi,
vice-minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, said at the
seminar co-sponsored by the ministry and the France-based insurer CNP
Since the mid-1980s, the township industry has become an important part
of the Chinese economy, making up 28 per cent of the gross domestic
product at the end of 1998 and employing one-third of the rural labour
Although township enterprises in some developed areas are leading the
pack when it comes to pension reforms for their staff, "the
implementation of a modernized pension system for the elderly
could increase the further development of township enterprises," the
official said. "They also face the risks of a market economy, and
their rights should also be protected," she added.
She said this has been an important issue on the ministerial agenda
since 1998 and last year her office started working with CNP Assurances,
France's biggest life insurer, to solve the problem.
Gilles Benoist, president of CNP which plans to apply for an operating
licence in China, lauded the government's efforts in pushing for pension
reform, but cautioned against becoming lax about providing the minimum
subsistence levels to township employees and emphasized that financial
burdens on enterprises should not be increased.
The president said the conflicts between better social security for
employees and increasing the competitiveness of enterprises were
particularly obvious in China because the percentage of the elderly
as part of the population is increasing.
Wang Yicai, director of the Rural Social Insurance Department of the
ministry, said China's township enterprise pension system should be funded
by employees and enterprises with policy support from the State.
He said the system must be in line with the urban pension system to
ensure the integrity of the labour market.
Global Action on Aging
PO Box 20022, New York, NY 10025
Phone: +1 (212) 557-3163 - Fax: +1 (212) 557-3164
We welcome comments and suggestions about this site. Please send
us your name for our postal and electronic mailing lists.