National Secretary Paddy Crumlin engaged in an in-depth conversation with a delegation of leaders from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), led by Madame Zhang Shiping who is a Vice President of the ACFTU's Secretariat. The trade union leaders met in Sydney on December 8th to share strategies and possible areas of cooperation.
Crumlin and Madame Zhang discussed the potential alliances between the MUA and Australian unions, on the one hand, and the ACFTU. They reviewed the history of their respective unions, including the support the MUA gave for the China Seaman's Union during World War II. Madame Zhang said that she, and her comrades, would never forget the hand extended by the MUA to the CSU during very difficult times.
|[Picture: Paddy Crumlin in Conversation With Vice President Madame Zhang of the ACFTU]|
The ACFTU represents 130 million workers, according Madame Zhong Xia, Deputy Director General of the ACFTU's Women Workers Department, who participated in the discussion with Crumlin.
After listenining intently to Comrade Zhang, Crumlin observed that the challenge for the ACFTU is to address the needs of 200 million rural workers, who are struggling to make ends at a time when housing prices are rising dramatically, and, at the same time, work to defend the middle-class wages attained by millions of urban dwellers. Crumlin has been active in building relationships with Chinese trade unions, most recently during his 2012 visit to China in which he represented the Australian Council of Trade Unions as part of a global delegation of the ITUC.
Madame Zhang started out as a worker in the early 1970s in an auto repair factory of Xicheng District, Beijing.
In addition to Comrades Zhang and Zhong, the delegation included: Guo Mingshan, Deputy Director General of the Staff Service Center; Peng Yong, Deputy Director General of the International Department; Yao Li, researcher for Asia and Pacific of the International Department; and Liu Xiaoqin, from the ACFTU's General Office.