As China cuts overcapacity in the steel and coal industries in northern regions, the government has also made the resettlement of laid-off workers a priority, officials from Tianjin municipality, and Hebei and Shanxi provinces said on March 7.
Shanxi province managed to re-employ 31,600 workers, 99.8 percent of those made redundant due to cutting capacity in the iron, steel and coal industries last year, Wang Fu, deputy governor of Shanxi, said at a group discussion of the ongoing session of the national legislature.
Handan, a city in Hebei province where iron and steel are the pillar industry, has re-employed more than 12,000 workers. In 2016, Handan cut over 10 million metric tons of iron, steel and coal capacity.
“It’s never easy to resettle these workers, but we’ve developed many ways to absorb them,” Gao Hongzhi, Party chief and the top official of Handan, said on March 7.
Workers are encouraged to find new jobs in other departments at their plants, or at other factories, he said.
For example, last year Yinlong New Energy Corp absorbed more than 3,000 workers who used to work at iron, steel and coal companies, Gao said.
Workers in their 40s and 50s will get extra training to help them find new jobs, or they can retire early if they meet special conditions, Gao said.
According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, over 726,000 workers from 1,905 companies in the iron and steel and coal industries, scattered across 28 provincial regions, were re-employed last year.
The central government has listed the resettling of redundant workers as a priority task.
While delivering the Government Work Report to the national legislature on March 5, Premier Li Keqiang required governments to ensure that laid-off workers can find new jobs and have their livelihoods secured.
Last year, the Ministry of Finance announced that 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) would be allocated to help resettle workers made redundant due to cuts in overcapacity. About 30 billion yuan was spent last year.