Migrant workers get say at congress

Updated: 2012-11-13 07:48

By He Dan (China Daily)

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Ju Xiaolin walked into a conference room packed with reporters on Monday night wearing a suit instead of the blue uniform and safety helmet he usually has on.

Ju is one of the 26 migrant workers who are delegates to the Party congress.

Migrant workers get say at congress

From left, four grassroots delegates to the Party Congress, Wang Xi, Ju Xiaolin, Ting Bateer and Yang Ruihui, address a news conference on Monday. Zou Hong / China Daily 

"I am excited and honored to be a Party congress delegate," he said, "Because our Party and government have paid great attention to improving migrant workers' lives and work, I have such an opportunity to participate in the discussion about important Party affairs."

Ju was speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the 18th Party Congress.

Ju, who stands at about 1.6 meters, is nicknamed "Little Giant" by his colleagues, not just because his family name "Ju" means huge in Chinese, but also because of his achievements at work.

In the past 25 years, the former village film projectionist from Northwest China's Shaanxi province has devoted his time to the country's railway development.

Ju, a senior technician working on overhead contact systems - which provide electricity - for First Engineering Co of the China Railway Electrification Bureau Group, has helped his company make about 80 technical improvements, which have generated profits of more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million).

The high school graduate said when he first began working as a railway technician, he could barely read a blueprint.

"The Party organization in my company provided all kinds of help for me," he said.

"Just by way of example, they arranged two college graduates to work as assistants with me and provided tools and equipment for my experiments, and when I was too busy to go home during holidays, our Party organization paid the transportation expenses for my family to visit me."

Based on the notes he has kept for years, the farmer-turned-worker has published two books on overhead contact system experiments and methods, which became popular reference books for thousands of technicians.

"All the progress and achievements I accomplished would not be possible without the help of our Party organization," Ju told reporters.

Ju joined the Party in 2008, and he was elected to be a delegate to the Party congress earlier this year.

"Now I feel the responsibility of bringing my fellow workers' and migrant workers' hopes and concerns to the congress," he said.

Feng Tongqing, a labor professor at the China Institute of Industrial Relations in Beijing, said he welcomed the Party's move to include more migrant workers' representatives at the congress, as this will give the group more say.

"It is definitely a good start, but I think what's more important is to set up a mechanism for these delegates to regularly communicate with the people they represent and to listen to migrant workers' concerns and problems," he said.