Proposals by the Beijing Independent Workers’ Union

Against the Current No. 22, September/October 1989

Provisional Committee of the Beijing Independent Workers' Union

AN ORGANIZING COMMITTEE for an independent union movement in China announced its existence at the height of the democratic mobilization in May. According to eyewitnesses, the activists of this fledgling movement occupied the front ranks and were among the first to be gunned down by the Peoples Liberation Army in Tiananmen Square.

Proposals of the Beijing Independent Workers’ Union

Since the middle of April, in the democratic movement of all the nationalities led by the students, many Chinese workers have shown their desire to participation political life, while recognizing that, until now, they have lacked a truly representative workers’ organization to express their opinions. For this reason we believe it necessary to set up an independent organization to speak in the name of the workers and take up the issues that concern them. To this end, we are preparing to organize an independent Workers Union in Beijing and are putting forward the following proposals for a programme:

1. This organization must be totally independent and it must be setup as the result of a democratic process in which workers take part of their own free will. It must not be under the control of other organizations and must have equal status with other mass organizations.

2. The basic aim of this organization must be to put forward the views of the greatest number of workers on political and economic questions, and not to be merely a welfare organization.

3. This organization must have a monitoring role over the Communist Party.

4. In firms and businesses which are the property of the whole people or under collective ownership, this organization must have the right to use all the appropriate and legal means to monitor the legal representatives and ensure that the workers are really the master of the firms. In other firms and businesses, it must uphold the workers’ interests through negotiation with the enterprise directors or through other legal means.

5. This organization must guarantee all the legal rights of its members in the constitutional and legal spheres.
Provisional Committee of the Beijing Independent Workers’ Union, May 21, 1989.

SOURCE: International Viewpoint, June 26, 1989

September-October 1989, ATC 22