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Cut capacity while securing jobs: Premier

Updated: Mar 2,2017 7:31 AM

Premier Li Keqiang talks with coal mine workers while visiting the Guandi Mine of the Shanxi Coking Coal Group in Central China’s Taiyuan on Jan 5, 2016.

Zhang Deming, a coal mine worker in Central China’s Shanxi province, is learning to repair damaged mine equipment.

In fact, many coal miners like him were trained by the Shanxi Coking Coal Group to do other jobs in 2016, the year the company closed seven mines.

At the beginning of 2016, Premier Li Keqiang visited this company and urged the coal and steel industries to cut excess capacity.

But the Premier also said a capacity cut should not cause mass unemployment, and professional training and social security should be improved to make sure that affected miners are transferred to other positions instead of losing their jobs.

Several policies have been issued by the State Council, including the funding of 10 billion yuan to support worker retraining.

He also urged coal companies to explore new businesses to create new jobs.

In June, 2016, the Coking Coal Group started an innovation center. Till now, there were 26 companies working there, 70 percent of which were started by the group’s employees.

A few days before Chinese New Year 2017, the Premier noted, “In 2016 alone, 700,000 workers once employed in downsized industries moved on to new jobs.”

“In 2016, China cut more than 65 million and 290 million tons of outdated steel and coal capacity, respectively. We plan to raise those numbers to 140 million and 800 million tons within the next three to five years, to restore healthier fundamentals of those industries,” the Premier said in an article published by Bloomberg Business Week.