Grassroots Worker Elected to Top Trade Union Leadership
Ju Xiaolin, a technician and former migrant worker from Shaanxi province, was appointed Vice Chair of the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Ju is the first migrant worker to hold such a high post within the ACFTU. A technician with only a high school diploma, Ju has worked for China CREC Railway Electrification Bureau Group since 1987 and in 2014 was elected to the National People’s Congress as a deputy. After the appointment, official media featured several stories on Ju actively promoting migrant workers’ interests by submitting policy proposals during the National People’s Congress held in March. This move reflects the central government’s attempt to make the ACFTU more appealing in the eyes of the rank-and-file workers, especially migrants like Ju himself. However, Lu Hui, an Associate Professor in sociology at Peking University, cautioned that ‘institutional reform is needed at the lower level of trade unions to attract and retain more experienced migrant workers.’ It is unlikely that a migrant ViceChair will affect such institutional changes, as trade union reforms are stalling.