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Cablegate: Ilo Seeks Donor Funding for China Mine Safety

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBJ #2283 0960928
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060928Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6576
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1770

UNCLAS BEIJING 002283

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USTR FOR KARESH, ROSENBERG, CELICO, STRATFORD, BLISS
LABOR FOR ILAB-LI AND OSEC-OWEN
TREAS FOR OASIA/ISA-CUSHMAN
USDOC FOR 4420/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN AND DAS KASOFF
GENEVA FOR CHAMBERLIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EMIN EAID CH
SUBJECT: ILO SEEKS DONOR FUNDING FOR CHINA MINE SAFETY
PROJECT


1. Summary: The International Labor Organization (ILO) and
China's State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS) seek
US$1.9 million in funding for a three year project on
improving occupational safety and health in China's coal mines.
The project would use a tripartite approach to review mine
safety laws, regulations and practices, provide training and
disseminate best practices throughout the mining industry.
Embassy will provide Washington agencies a complete project
proposal and proposed budget electronically. End summary.

2. On April 3, the ILO office in Beijing and SAWS held a
"donors meeting" at which they announced that they are seeking
funding for a new project to improve occupational safety and
health in China's coal mines. The ILO circulated a detailed
draft project proposal and took questions from potential
donors. (Embassy will circulate this proposal and a detailed
proposed budget to Washington agencies electronically.)

3. The ILO said the draft project document is the result of
two and one half years of consultations with SAWS and Chinese
employer and worker organizations. The project, originally
proposed by the International Federation of Chemical, Energy,
Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), aims to build a
tripartite mechanism in China for mine safety risk assessment
and risk management. Participants in the tripartite program
would include SAWS, the ILO, the All China Federation of Trade
Unions (ACFTU) and its constituent organizations, and the
Chinese Employers Confederation (CEC.) The ILO, the ICEM and
the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM--an ILO-
affiliated employers organization) would provide technical
assistance and other in-kind support. Program activities
would consist primarily of training for employers, government
officials, mine inspectors and workers. Key outputs include:

--mine safety laws and regulations are reviewed, harmonized,
widely disseminated and understood at all levels of the coal
mining industry,

--capacity for risk assessment and risk management verified
throughout the industry,

--improved safety and health conditions for coal mine workers
(initially at pilot mines, ultimately at all mines),

--establishment of a mine safety inspection/supervision system
that will ensure the competence, authority and independence of
those concerned to enforce mine safety regulations and promote
workplace safety and health within a risk assessment framework,

--workplace safety supervisors are recruited and trained and
have the means and authority to carry out their duties on
behalf of mineworkers.

4. A representative from the German Embassy noted that
corruption seems to be the root cause of mine accidents and
ineffective mine safety supervision in China, and asked how
the project would address this problem. The ILO responded that
although SAWS has identified corruption as a contributing
factor to mine accidents, the government has other means of
addressing this problem. Meanwhile, the ILO representative
said, empirical evidence shows that programs focused entirely
on training, like the one being proposed, can significantly
reduce the number of mine accidents and fatalities.

5. Laboff noted that two thirds of mine fatalities in China
occur in small, privately operated mines where the ACFTU is
rarely present, and asked how the project would reach these
workers. ILO representatives said the project was designed to
work with larger mines, in order to reach the largest share of
the industry in the shortest possible time, and noted that
there are also a significant number of accidents in these
large mines. Small mines would benefit from lessons learned
through this project as they are propagated throughout the
mining sector by the tripartite partners. ACFTU
representatives said they have a strong presence in large
mines, but acknowledged that they had difficulty organizing
workers in small mines. However, ACFTU representatives said
that the ACFTU can still provide training to non-members
through regional union organizations, and that hopefully this
would helpwith organizing as well.
RANDT

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