Labor NGOs: Growing Pains

http://epaper.southcn.com/nfdaily/html/2012-09/03/content_7121457.htm

中文 English

The following is a translation of an in-depth Southern Daily (Nanfang Ribao) article examining the recent suppression of labor NGOs in Guangdong.

Facing inspections, leaders of relevant organizations hope that the relevant government bureaus will help regulate and improve NGOs

Beginning last February, more than ten labor NGOs have been repeatedly inspected by lower-level government bureaus. These NGOs have included the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Disputes Services Center, the Shenzhen Yuanqu Workers’ Services Center, the Shenzhen Migrant Workers’ Services Center, the Shenzhen Qingcao Workers’ Services Center, and the Modern Women Workers’ Services Center. Immediately following these inspections, landlords for these organizations have looked for reasons to cancel their leases and request that they relocate.

Although inspection is the duty of these government bureaus, when faced with irregularities within public-service or welfare-oriented social organizations, whether these bureaus should help regulate and improve these organizations or simply shut them down is a policy issue.

“Are we not going to be able to continue working?” Since the beginning of August, Shenzhen’s Hand-in-Hand Workers’ Activity Center has faced routine inspections by lower-level government bureaus, and this has its leader, Chen Yandi, worried. Chen’s concern is certainly not unfounded. After inspections began, the landlord of the NGO’s office terminated their lease, leaving them with the choice of either not working or having to relocate.

Starting in 2008, the municipal party committee of the Shenzhen city government has listed fostering the development of social organizations as an important topic. The Guangdong provincial party committee, at a meeting in 2011, also stressed the importance of strengthening social construction and innovating in social management.

These kinds of positive policies filled Chen Yandi and her coworkers with hope, thinking perhaps that the inspections would soon end.

Last Saturday, however, Chen’s hopes were shattered when her NGO’s landlord forced them to relocate on the pretense that her child would be returning. Yesterday, she came to the Hand-in-Hand office three times in a row, pressing them on when they would move out and claiming that she was “in a hurry” to have them leave. “The landlord stressed that she meant to talk to me about this last month, but it was only last month that she collected our rent for six months,” said Chen

An 80’s-Generation Girl Starts an NGO

In Shenzhen, there are ten labor NGOs similar to Hand-in-Hand, mostly found in the Bao’an and Longgang districts where migrant workers are gradually providing services that factories do not offer.

Located on Xixiang Road in Bao’an district, the Shenzhen Hand-in-Hand Workers’ Activity Center (hereafter referred to as “Hand-in-Hand”) is a public-welfare organization designed to help migrant workers. Chen Yandi and her friend founded Hand-in-Hand in 2007. In five years, it has grown from only two people into an organization with eight full-time employees and some repute among migrant workers in Shenzhen.

“Lots of young people like to come here to read or make friends,” says local motorcycle cabbie Mr. Li.

Chen Yandi, a 27-year-old native of Guangxi is the organization’s leader. Speaking of her office, Chen seems to hold it particularly dear. In 2002, having just graduated from middle school, Chen moved from Guigang, Guangxi to Xixiang in Bao’an, Shenzhen to work on a production line for the next three years. In August of 2005, disaster struck when the fingers on her right hand were maimed by machinery, an injury classified by Chinese law as a 9th-degree disability.

Suddenly faced with a work injury, Chen lost her life direction. “I didn’t know how to face my friends or family, let alone where I should take my life from there.”

“Many workers who get work injuries are only in their twenties, or even teenagers. If they can’t get past their sudden hardship, they’ll spend the rest of their lives in a state of depression,” says Chen’s coworker Wang Baoyu.

Chen said frankly that it was her work friends that helped her move past the shadow of her injury and helped her conceive of the idea of an organization devoted to providing psychological support and other forms of help to injured workers. At the end of 2007, Hand-in-Hand was born.

“Waiting until after an injury has happened to provide support is already too late. Proper training beforehand is much more important than rights protection afterward,” Chen believes. In view of this concept, occupational safety education has continually been at the core of Hand-in-Hand’s social work.

“We also go to hospitals to carry out work injury visits, providing psychological support and helping others emerge from the shadow of work injuries. We help them properly deal with injuries and disabilities, and keep them from thinking about hurting themselves or others,” Chen says.

Journalists found that there are ten labor organizations like Hand-in-Hand in Shenzhen, located in the Bao’an and Longgang areas where migrant workers tend to be. These organizations focus on providing work safety education, arranging cultural activities, and providing legal advocacy and consultation for migrant workers. By their own actions, they provide in their own small way the services that factories do not offer.

Will Relocating Force Us to Leave our “High Ground”?

Facing continued routine inspections and the cancellation of their lease, Chen and her coworkers faced a difficult problem. Not only had they lost their office, they’d also lost their direction for the future.

Beginning last February, more than ten Shenzhen labor organizations faced inspections from numerous lower-level government bureaus dealing with taxation, work safety, prevention and safety, social insurance, housing management, labor inspection, and more. Immediately afterward, landlords began looking for excuses to cancel their leases and require them to relocate.

Regarding these matters, journalists contacted authorities in Bao’an and Longgang, but none gave clear responses. Among those bureaus contacted, some authorities expressed that the inspections were simply routine investigations, and that they were not aimed in particular at these organizations.

An authority at the Xixiang sub-district propaganda bureau told journalists that the inspections were not the responsibility of his office, so he did not understand the reasons behind them. However, he said, regardless of the situation, reasonable investigations by relevant departments are to be expected, and public interest organizations should not be exempted from legal inspections.

Facing continued routine inspections and the cancellation of their lease, Chen and her coworkers faced a difficult problem. Not only had they lost their office, they had also lost their direction for the future.

“Isn’t it said that we’re supposed to vigorously develop social organizations? If there’s something we’re missing or something we’re doing wrong, isn’t it better to help us improve to meet the standards rather than shut us down and make us leave?” Chen asks.

But will moving be safe? Journalists found out that, facing pressure, the Shenzhen Migrant Workers’ Center relocated from its old location of several years in the Tongle neighborhood to Nanlian Street. But as soon as they moved to their new location, NGO leader Chen Mao says, “the Bureau of Industry and Commerce came to our door and told us we didn’t have a license to operate.”

The Bao’an-based Shenzhen Yuanqu Workers’ Service Center, facing continuous inspections by government bureaus, moved five times and is still unable to work normally. They are now moving from Shenzhen to Dongguan, but the NGO still hopes to remain in Shenzhen.

For those who want to stay in Shenzhen, where could they go? Chen Yandi racked her brain to find the solution, “Someone once told us that we could move to Longhua.”

Li Zhao of the Qingcao Workers’ Hotline once asked the same question. “At that time I asked them if it was OK to move to Longhua. I got no response, but when I asked if moving to Shiyan would be acceptable, they told me it was absolutely forbidden.”

However, labor NGO representatives told Southern Daily reporters that the Longhua district is changing, and that commerce has developed there in place of industry, so there are fewer and fewer workers there. Moving there would sacrifice their good location. “Moving to Longhua would not only make starting campaigns more difficult, it would make it more difficult for workers to come to the office, seeing as they’re so busy. None of us want to move to Longhua,” said Chen Yandi.

Professor Wang Jiangsong of the Institute of Chinese Labor Relations told journalists that if labor NGOs were no longer allowed to help protect workers’ rights, the NGOs would lose the meaning and space for their existence. Their rights work is the reason that workers are willing to come to them and trust them. Labor NGOs can work with the government to protect workers’ rights, lifting some of the burden off the state. With the changing role of government, labor NGOs help mitigate social problems and improve the government’s level of social management.

Regarding the purpose of existence for labor NGOs, Zhang Zhiru of the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labor Disputes Services Center told journalists that many Shenzhen businesses felt that labor NGOs were teaching workers that by filing complaints and lawsuits, they could protect their rights. “Bosses from many businesses feel that migrant workers’ understanding of legal rights is too strong.”

Wang Jiangsong expressed that there is a certain rationality and inevitability behind the appearance of labor organizations. They grow in response to the conflicts between labor and capital, they help resolve social problems to a certain degree, and their capability and impact is fairly evident. Their management should be institutionalized and legalized, so that their campaigns can be couched in a legal framework.

“Become More Open and Transparent”

In this storm of inspections, Little Bird Migrant Workers’ Hotline should be facing less pressure than most NGOs.

At the Shenzhen Little Bird office, as soon as one walks in they notice a poster on the wall with “Workers’ Rights Hotline” printed in large characters above a phone number. Little Bird’s founder Wei Wei says, “We exist to help protect workers’ rights.”

While Wei’s blunt way of speaking may make it hard for others to understand him, Little Bird’s influence is clear to see. According to him, at the end of 2011, Little Bird had offices in Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenyang, capable of providing legal aid to 10,000 people each year. The NGO has received 7.75 million yuan in funding for 43 projects from 18 international foundations from Canada, Australia, the United States, Germany, and the European Union. As of 2011, Little Bird had created a platform the in north China, northeastern China, eastern China, and southern China, providing as many as 10,000 workers with legal service. From its founding, Little Bird has directly helped as many as 315,075 workers and indirectly helped another 519,710.

Certainly, Little Bird’s development has not been entirely smooth sailing. Early on, the Beijing office experienced routine inspections by government bureaus many times. Facing setbacks, Wei looked for effective ways to solve the issue, and eventually turned to actively promoting communication with the media and the government.”

“It’s not that we have good guanxi with the government, but rather that we actively carry out public relations,” Wei laughs. Since Little Bird’s founding in 1999, this has been the NGOs method of survival.

In Wei’s opinion, the recent storm of inspections is connected to labor NGOs’ method of operation.

“Labor NGOs in this area are used to being low-key. They’re not willing to actively pursue public relations with the government, they’re not willing to build social credibility, and they’re not willing to be more open and transparent about their work. In the long term, this creates suspicions within the government and this time, the pressure that had been building finally came out in the open.

In addition to actively carrying out public relations, Little Bird’s website publishes its finances, daily worker consultations and activities. All of the NGO’s operations are completely transparent.

Wei wishes to say to other NGOs, “We’re from the countryside. Naturally we’re a weak group. In the rights protection process, we’ll certainly make mistakes. In running our social organizations, there will be places that need improving. But it’s only when you reveal your weakest points that you’ll earn others’ trust and support.”

How Do You Register with the Civil Affairs Bureau?

The vast majority of labor NGOs find it impossible to register with the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In order to start operations, some will do as the Shenzhen NGO Hand-in-Hand did and register as businesses. Others simply don’t register at all.

On July 1st of this year, Guangdong’s provincial government produced, “On Promoting the Development and Regulated Management of Social Organizations,” in which the government ruled that except under special circumstances and in specific fields, social organizations in Guangdong would no longer need a professional supervising unit to sponsor them. Instead, they could register directly with the Ministry of Civil Affairs. From the perspective of social organizations, this would remove a great burden.

Regarding Hand-in-Hand and other organizations registered as businesses, there seemed to be some hope for switching registrations. “If we’re not registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, then it’s difficult to apply for a location, and it’s difficult to receive support from the Volunteers’ Association or the Women’s Federation. Workers will doubt our motives, thinking we may be for-profit.”

Because being registered as a business was so inconvenient, Hand-in-Hand began preparing to register as soon as the new law was issued. However, when Hand-in-Hand went to the district and city-level Ministry of Civil Affairs office in July to apply, they were held up on the first step which is getting their name approved.

The Bao’an Civil Affairs bureau replied that after filling out the name authorization form, they should take the form to the street-level social affairs committee to have their seal affixed. But when Chen Yandi delivered the form to the street committee, she was told that the committee relies on the neighborhood to monitor organizations, and because the neighborhood wasn’t familiar with Hand-in-Hand, they couldn’t affix their seal.

“They also told me that hadn’t heard of the new law. We got stuck at the first step,” Chen Yandi said with disappointment.

After Hand-in-Hand’s application was rejected, they applied again to the city Civil Affairs bureau at the end of July, only to be stuck once again at the name authorization process. Chen says that because the application required they fill out the scope of business for the organization, “at the time we wrote ‘legal consultation.’ The Ministry of Civil Affairs replied that because law constitutes a professional function, we would still have to register beneath another bureau.”

Chen disagrees. She feels that their legal consultation work consists only of editing and printing the simplest legal documents to give to workers, or when workers face legal problems, they recommend a labor union or government legal aid center. Her organization does not provide any direct legal services.

Similarly, after the release of the new law, someone from the Shenzhen Migrant Workers’ Center went to the Longgang Civil Affairs bureau to ask if they could register. Two weeks later, their reply was, “This is just something the media is cooking up.”

When journalists contacted the city Civil Affairs bureau, they were told that the relevant official was away on business and was unavailable for interview. However, one employee revealed that although the city had expanded the number of organizations that could register directly, labor organizations were not among them. They would still have to register with another government bureau. Moreover, while the provincial government had produced the new law, specific details still had yet to appear.

Chen Yandi’s earliest and most urgent desire was to find a managing bureau with which to register and thus successfully register Hand-in-Hand as a public welfare organization. But now, even staying registered as a business to continue operating may be too large a dream.

Blue Worker’s Cooperative: Registering Requires Taking Initiative to Avoid Risk

The Blue Workers’ Cooperative: Although many NGOs find registering with Civil Affairs impossible, the Blue Workers’ Cooperation, an organization focusing on workers’ education that arrived in Shenzhen only this February, successfully registered this July.

On July 27th, 2012, the Blue Workers’ Cooperative received approval from the city of Shenzhen and a registration certificate from Civil Affairs. According to the Secretary-General of the Blue Workers’ Cooperative, He Zhongzhou, the whole process was “very smooth,” and they never encountered any obstacles.

On their application form, under “scope of business,” they filled in, “provide specialized social service; carry out social awareness work and academic exchange activities; and continue in the work of our managing bureau in providing social services.” While these goals seem rather empty, rather unlike the words “legal awareness,” and ‘legal aid” written out by other labor NGOs, He Zhongzhou told journalists that the work done by his NGO is actually very similar to the others, including education, legal awareness, legal consultation, work safety education, etc.

From the outside, it appears as if He Zhongzhou’s organization’s success in registering was due to his support from ranks of university professors, specialized researchers, lawyers, and social workers. But he says that the technical management of his organization’s public relations and the professional nature of its operations are key to his organization, as well as the reason behind his successful registration.

According to him, in the registration process, using the words “beneficial citizen” was recommended by the director of the Social Work Office in the Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau. When applying, they didn’t use the original name of Blue Workers’ Cooperation, but rather wrote that the Good Citizen’s Social Work Services Center’s goal was to provide labor education and promote work-study programs, while avoiding sensitive topics.

He Zhongzhou feels that the term “labor” isn’t used in official language, so an application from a “labor services center” would not fit within the regulations and would likely be rejected.

Learning from Others: Labor NGOs in Guangzhou and Dongguan

The puzzling thing is that these cases have centered around Shenzhen. Journalists have found that in Guangzhou and Dongguan, other than the Dongguan Rights Safety and Production Management Consulting Center, no other labor NGOs have faced registration problems.

Founded in August of 1998, the Panyu Migrant Workers Service Center, which is known as being the first labor NGO to register in China, mostly provides opportunities for exchange between workers, interactive activities, and helps workers deal with labor rights issues. Their representative, Zeng Feiyang, told journalists that from 2008 until now, they had never faced routine inspection problems. Now the Center is applying to the Civil Affairs Bureau to register.

On July 3, Zeng delivered his application to the Guangzhou Civil Affairs Bureau. On July 5th, he received feedback saying that because they currently lack any detailed regulations and are therefore unable to make any final decisions, they should let the matter drop.

At the same time, the Guangzhou-based Xiangyanghua Women Workers’ Center, which had previously applied to the Civil Affairs Bureau, entered the bank auditing stage of their application and was about to finish the process to be registered as a public interest social organization. The organization focuses on female migrant workers and their needs.

In Dongguan, after last year’s “Kunshu Student Aid” event, the government has loosened restrictions on social organizations considerably. In December of last year, the Dongguan Blue Workers’ Public Interest Center was successfully registered. On May 28th, the Dongguan Candlelight Public Interest Center was also successfully established.  The Candlelight Public Interest Center provides social aid, common legal awareness, and cultural activities for disadvantaged groups.

When speaking of the road to registration, the leader of the Candlelight Center, Song Gangfu recalls bad memories. When he asked about applying in May of last year, the Dongguan Civil Affairs Bureau said that at most he could set up a library. After the Kunshu Student Aid incident when “the person at the registration bureau told me I could register as a public service center.”

“When the Civil Affairs bureau was auditing us, they gave us lots of advice. By this May, the Candlelight Public Interest Center was formally registered,” Song Gangfu said happily.

One Expert’s Opinion

Director Yu Jianrong of the Social Issues Research Center housed within the Rural Development Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences writes:

The government should regulate and guide labor organizations.

Yu Jianrong of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences expressed that having worked with labor organizations many times in the past, he has kept close watch on the Shenzhen “routine inspection” issue. As he understands it, a great number of these labor organizations only want to help workers who find themselves disadvantaged in modern society. They provide help and services that are beneficial towards solving conflicts between labor and capital interests, and they also help the government in solving labor disputes.

He believes that by providing workers with the most basic legal consultation services, labor organizations not only help protect the rights of workers who have received unjust treatment, but also help resolve labor disputes through legal means. This can help cut down on labor petitions and protests. This is very valuable for social development and the push for the construction of a society based on the rule of law.

“I feel that local government bodies should change their positions regarding labor organizations. First, they should realize that these organizations actually help the government solve social problems, not create them. Second, they should change their political awareness and create a tolerant environment for these organizations,” said Yu Jianrong.

At the same time, he feels that that the Guangdong provincial government is putting special importance on social construction and development.  Moreover, Shenzhen is in many respects at the forefront of the country. The government should, within the framework of social construction, regulate and guide the development of labor NGOs.

劳工NGO:成长的烦恼

南方日报 记者 杜啸天 张仁望 何俊 见习记者 蒋桓伯  策划/统筹:吕冰冰

面对检查,相关机构负责人称,希望政府有关部门帮助其进行完善和规范

 

从今年2月份开始,包括深圳市春风劳动争议服务部、深圳市圆典工友服务部、深圳市打工者中心、深圳市青草工友服务部、时代女工服务部等在内的十余家劳务工NGO先后遭多个基层部门先后上门检查。紧接着,就是房东以各种理由提前解除租房合同,要求搬迁。

相关部门的合理检查是职责所在,但,面对以公益和公共服务为存在理由的社会组织,当发现其不规范之处时,是想方设法助其规范与完善,还是简单化地一关了之,其实是一个决策方向的问题。

撰文:

南方日报记者 杜啸天

张仁望

见习记者 蒋桓伯

摄影:

南方日报记者 何俊

策划/统筹:吕冰冰

“我们会不会没有办法继续工作?”进入8月份以来,深圳手牵手工友活动室连续遭遇多个基层政府部门的例行检查,该机构负责人陈燕娣近来一直提心吊胆。

陈燕娣的担心并非没有理由。因为已经有机构在接受接连例行检查后,随后被房东提前解除租房合同,无法正常工作或者搬迁的尴尬境地。

而从2008年开始,培育发展社会组织问题先后三次被市委市政府列为重大调研课题。广东省更是在去年的十届九次全会上,把社会建设摆在更加突出的位置,加强社会建设、创新社会管理。

这种种向好的政策,都让陈燕娣和她的同行们满怀希望,也许例行检查的风暴马上就会过去。

然而上周六,陈燕娣的希望被打碎,房东以自己的小孩要回来开发廊为由找到“手牵手”,让他们尽快搬迁。昨日,房东一连来了“手牵手”办公室三次,追问他们什么时候能够搬走,并称自己“很急”。“房东强调上个月就想跟我说了,但上个月她才收了我们半年房租。”

80后女孩创立的NGO

在深圳,像“手牵手”这样的劳务工NGO有十余家,主要分布在宝安和龙岗两个外来劳务工比较集中的区域,一点一滴补上了“企业没有做足”的功课。

位于宝安区西乡街道的深圳手牵手工友活动室(下简称“手牵手”),是一家专为外来务工人员服务的公益机构。2007年,陈燕娣和朋友一起创立了“手牵手”。5年间,“手牵手”从初创期的2个人,发展到现在已拥有8名全职工作人员,在深圳外来务工中小有名气。

“很多年轻人都喜欢去那里看书、认识朋友。”在附近的摩的司机老李说。

来自广西的27岁女孩陈燕娣是该机构的负责人。谈起工作室,陈燕娣显得格外珍视。2002年,刚刚初中毕业的她,从广西贵港来到宝安西乡,在工厂流水线上一干就是三年。2005年8月,噩梦从天而降,她的右手手指被机器轧伤变形,鉴定为9级伤残。

突遭工伤,让陈燕娣一下子失去了人生方向,“不知道怎么面对家人和朋友,更不知道以后的路要怎么走”。

“很多遭受工伤的劳务工都只有二十几岁,甚至十几岁,如果走不出突如其来的困境,后半生就会在迷茫与苦闷中度过。”陈燕娣的同事王宝钰说。

陈燕娣坦言,是工友们帮助她走出了受伤阴影,也让她萌生为受伤劳务工提供心理支援等帮助的想法。2007年底,“手牵手”应运而生。

“等到工伤发生后,再去补救就晚了。事前的培训远比事后的维权更重要。”陈燕娣认为。基于这样的理念,职业安全教育一直是“手牵手”的核心工作内容。而5年来,“手牵手”更一直致力于为劳务工提供职业安全培训、心理咨询、法律宣传和咨询等社会服务。

“我们也会去一些医院进行工伤探访,提供心理支援,让大家能从工伤阴影中走出来,正确对待受伤或致残,不要走极端,造成自杀甚至杀人的后果。”陈燕娣说。

据记者了解,在深圳,像“手牵手”这样的劳务工NGO有十余家,主要分布在宝安和龙岗两个外来劳务工比较集中的区域,他们以为外来劳务工提供职业安全宣传和教育、开展文艺活动、进行法律宣传和咨询为主。他们用自己的行动一点一滴补上了“企业没有做足”的功课。

再搬迁就失去“用武之地”?

面对接连的例行检查和租房合同的停止,陈燕娣和她的同事们陷入了迷茫和困惑之中,他们不仅正在失去办公场地,更失去了未来的方向。

从今年2月份开始,包括深圳市春风劳动争议服务部、深圳市圆典工友服务部、深圳市打工者中心、深圳市青草工友服务部、时代女工服务部等在内的十余家劳务工NGO先后遭到所在街道税务、安监、安防、社保、房管所、劳动监察大队等多个基层部门先后上门检查。紧接着,就是房东以各种理由提前解除租房合同,要求搬迁。

针对此事,记者联系了宝安、龙岗两区的多个部门,均未得到明确答复。其中有部门工作人员表示,只是例行检查,并没有专门针对该组织的上门检查。

西乡街道办宣传部一位负责人告诉记者,因为去检查的不是街道的职能部门所以他不了解原因。但是,不管是什么情况,相关部门的合理检查都是应该的,不能说做公益就不应该接受合法的检查,这也是相关管理部门的职责所在。

面对接连的例行检查和租房合同的停止,陈燕娣和她的同事们陷入了迷茫和困惑之中,他们不仅正在失去办公场地,更失去了未来的方向。

“不是说要大力发展社会组织吗?如果我们有什么不足和不规范,帮助我们完善和规范起来,不是比让我们关门走人更好吗?”陈燕娣问道。

但搬迁后是否就一定安全呢?记者了解到,迫于压力,深圳打工者中心从原来经营了多年的龙岗区龙岗街道同乐社区,搬迁到龙岗区南联街道。但搬迁到新的地方后,“工商随即又找上门来,说我们无照经营”,相关负责人陈茂表示。

而位于宝安区松岗街道的深圳市圆典工友服务部,因为各个部门的轮番检查,先后搬家5次,仍无法正常工作,现已离开深圳去了东莞。但该机构负责人表示,他们其实希望能够留在深圳。

那么要想继续留在深圳,搬到哪里才行呢?陈燕娣绞尽脑汁想,“曾经有人告诉我们,你们可以搬到龙华去”。

青草工友热线的负责人李招就曾经问过这样的问题,“当时我问他们,去龙华可不可以?他们不作声,但是我问,搬到石岩可不可以,他们就说坚决不可以。”

不过,有劳务工NGO负责人向南方日报记者表示,龙华近年来正在转型,发展商业,工业区和工人越来越少,搬到龙华就失去了用武之地。“搬到龙华不仅我们开展活动不方便,工人们上门咨询也不方便,因为他们平时都很忙。我们都不想去龙华。”陈燕娣表示。

中国劳动关系学院教授王江松向记者表示,劳务工NGO如果不帮助工人维权,就失去了存在的意义和空间,这正是工人愿意找他们、信任他们的理由,也是这类组织未来发展的方向。劳务工NGO配合政府做维权,既可以让政府不再大包大揽,承接政府职能转移,也有利于消化一部分社会矛盾,推动政府的社会管理水平。

对于劳务工NGO存在的作用,深圳市春风劳动争议服务部负责人张治儒告诉记者,深圳很多企业反映,正是他们这些劳务工NGO的存在,让很多工人学会了通过投诉、起诉等方式来维护自己的权益,“很多企业老板认为现在的外来工权利意识太强”。

王江松认为,劳务工类组织的出现有其必然性和合理性,是适应劳资矛盾的需要而产生的,对化解社会矛盾有一定的帮助,对其功能和作用应该予以认可,对其管理应该制度化和法律化,让其在法律的框架下开展各种活动。

“更大限度地将工作开放和透明化”

“社区里的劳工NGO习惯于回避,不愿意主动做政府公关,不愿做更大的社会公信力的建设,不愿把工作更大限度地去开放和透明化,这在长期里造成了政府对这类组织工作的疑虑,这次只是积压已久的爆发。”

在这次的“检查风暴”中,小小鸟打工互助热线应该是受到压力比较小的一个。

在“小小鸟”深圳办公室,一进门记者便看到墙上的海报上印着“维权热线”四个大字以及电话号码,“小小鸟”的创始人魏伟也直言不讳:“我们就是帮劳务工兄弟维权的”。

魏伟的这种高调或许让他人难以理解,但“小小鸟”现在的影响力却有目共睹。据其介绍,截至2011年底,“小小鸟”已在深圳、北京、上海、沈阳四地建立了分支机构,具备了每年为10000名劳务工提供法律服务的能力。自机构成立至今,共执行来自加拿大、澳大利亚、美国、德国、欧盟、世界银行在内的18家国际基金会资助项目43个,筹款人民币约775万元。据他介绍,截至2011年底,小小鸟已实现了在华北、东北、华东、华南四大经济区域的平台建设,具备每年为10000名劳务工提供法律服务的能力。自其成立至今,直接受益的农民工达到315075人,间接受益人数为519710人。

当然,“小小鸟”的发展也并非一帆风顺,早年机构在北京也经历了多次政府部门例行检查事件。魏伟也在挫折中逐渐找到了行之有效的解决办法,即积极主动地进行媒体和政府部门沟通,自上而下地解决问题。

“我们不是和政府关系好,而是积极主动地做政府公关。”魏伟笑着说,这是从“小小鸟”1999年成立至今一直贯彻的生存法则。

在魏伟看来,近期的“检查风暴”和劳工NGO长期以来的运作方式有很大关系。

“社区里的劳工NGO习惯于回避,不愿意主动做政府公关,不愿做更大的社会公信力的建设,不愿把工作更大限度地去开放和透明化,这在长期里造成了政府对这类组织工作的疑虑,这次只是积压已久的爆发。”

除了积极地进行政府公关,浏览小小鸟的网站可以发现,其所有的财务与资助项目都对外公开,每日接待的劳工咨询、举办的活动也全都当天记录并发布在其官网上,可以说整个机构的运行是完全透明化的。

魏伟想向同行说:“我们是农民,本就是弱者,在维权过程中有时的确会造成一些不合规范的问题,我们办的社会组织也难免有各种不完善的地方,但暴露自己最危险的部分,才能取得信任和帮助。”

■聚焦

民政注册之路如何走下去?

记者了解到,为了开展活动方便,这些劳务工NGO绝大部分都未能在民政部门注册。其中一部分为了开展活动,进行了工商登记,比如,“手牵手”;而另外一部分,则没有进行任何登记。

今年7月1日,广东省委、省政府印发《关于进一步培育发展和规范管理社会组织的方案》,除了特别规定和特殊领域,广东省内成立社会组织,不用找业务主管部门,并可直接向民政部门申请登记。这对于社会组织来说,是又一次大松绑。

对于像“手牵手”这样一个工商注册的机构而言,新规似乎让他们看到了“转正”的希望,“如果想开展大一点的活动,因为不是民政注册,就很难申请到场地,也争取不到妇联、义工联的支持。工友们还会怀疑我们是不是有其它目的,比如盈利”。

因为工商注册带来的诸多不便,新政策出台后,“手牵手”就开始准备注册,但7月份“手牵手”分别向宝安区民政局、深圳市民政局递交的申请,却都卡在了第一步——“名称核准申请”。

宝安区民政局的回复是,填写“名称核准申请书”后到街道办社会事务科盖章。但陈燕娣将申请书递交给街道办后,却被告知,由于街道办靠社区实行监督,但社区对“手牵手”的情况不了解,所以不能盖章。

“而且他们告诉我,街道没有收到7月1日的新规,第一步就被卡住了。”陈燕娣失望地说。

向宝安区民政局的注册申请被拒后,“手牵手”又在7月底向深圳市民政局提交了申请,结果也是名称核准没有过关。陈燕娣表示,因为提交给市民政局的申请需要填写业务范围,“当时我们写上了法律宣传。民政局给的回复是,因为法律属于专业技能,仍然需要主管单位”。

对此,陈燕娣并不认可。她觉得他们的法律宣传只是将一些最简单的法律条文打印成文字版交给工人,或者在工人遇到法律问题时,介绍他们去工会或者政府的法律援助中心,而他们并非提供直接的法律服务。

同样,深圳打工者中心负责人获悉新方案公布后,到龙岗区民政局咨询他们是否可以注册了,区民政局近半个月后答复,“那都是媒体炒作出来的,没那回事”。

记者就此事联系了深圳市民管局,工作人员告诉记者,相关负责人在外出差,无法接受采访。不过,有工作人员向记者透露,虽然深圳目前已经将直接登记的社会组织扩大到八大类,但是劳务工组织开展法律服务不在此列,按照法律规定需要找一个主管单位。同时,广东省的方案虽然已经公布,但是细则尚未出台。

陈燕娣此前最迫切的希望是能找到一个主管部门挂靠,让“手牵手”成功注册为公益服务组织。不过对于现在的“手牵手”而言,能够以工商登记的身份继续开展工作,可能都将成为奢望。

注册应主动规避风险

蓝衣工人合作社:

尽管对于很多劳务工NGO来说,进行民政注册可望而不可及。而致力于劳工教育的蓝衣工人合作社在2011年2月才进驻深圳,并在今年7月份注册成功。

2012年7月27日,蓝衣工人合作社在深圳的新机构以深圳市益民社工服务中心注册获得批准,拿到了民政部的登记证书。在蓝衣工人合作社总干事何忠洲看来,整个注册过程“很顺利”,并没有遇到任何障碍。

在申报的业务范围一栏,按照统一的规范填写的,是“提供专业化社工服务;开展社工宣传和学术交流活动;承接有关单位委托的社工服务项目”三项。这三项内容看似空泛,并没有像大多数劳务工NGO将法律宣传和法律援助等词直接写入申请材料,但何忠洲告诉记者,他们所作的其实涵盖了劳务工NGO的大部分活动内容,包括教育、法律宣传、法律咨询、职业安全教育等。

在外界看来,何忠洲的机构能够在深圳注册成功,是因为其背后豪华的大学教授、专业研究员、律师、社工等队伍。而其则表示,对外界宣传的技术化处理和专业规范的运作才是蓝衣工人合作社发展良好的关键,以及能够在深圳注册成功的原因。

据其介绍,在深圳市益民社工服务中心申请注册过程中,“益民”两个字是深圳市民政局社工处处长的建议,并没有使用原有的蓝衣工人合作社名称,而在申请材料中,益民社工服务中心的自我定位是劳工教育,致力于推动企业里的半工半读,并没有所谓敏感的东西。

同时,何忠洲认为,“劳工”一词本不在官方话语中所使用,因此以“劳工服务中心”去注册登记本就是不合规范的,很难获得通过。

◀上接AⅡ01版

■他山之石

广州东莞劳务工NGO:

一些机构 成功注册劳工

令人纳闷的是,此次事件似乎只集中发生在深圳。据记者了解,在广州、东莞两地,除了东莞友维安全生产管理咨询服务部外,别的劳务工NGO都没有遇到类似的问题。

创立于1998年8月的番禺打工族服务部,号称国内最早的劳务工NGO,它主要进行劳务工间的交流、互助活动,也同时帮助劳务工处理一些维权的个案。其负责人曾飞洋告诉记者,2008年至今他们从未遇到过频繁查访的情况。目前,番禺打工族服务部正在做着民政注册的努力。

今年7月3日,曾飞洋向广州民政部门提交了注册申请。7月5日,他们得到了民政部门的反馈,由于目前这类社会组织的注册工作还没有一个细化的章程,许多细节无法敲定,希望他们稍安勿躁。

而与此同时,早先就向民政部门提交注册申请的广州向阳花女工中心已经进入银行审核阶段,将于近日完成注册流程,成为一家公益服务类社会组织。该机构关注广州外来打工姐妹的工作、生活,为他们提供帮助。

而在东莞,去年的“坤叔助学”事件后,政府对社会组织的注册明显放松了很多。去年12月,东莞市蓝衣公益服务中心注册成功。今年5月28日,东莞市烛光公益服务中心注册成功。

烛光公益服务中心是一家为弱势群体提供社会救助、普法宣传在内的公益服务,以及在社区开展文化活动的公益组织。

谈到烛光公益服务中心的注册之路,负责人宋刚夫很有感慨,去年5月份他就有了这个想法,但东莞民政部门当时的答复是最多只能做一个图书馆。直到坤叔助学事件后,“登记部门的人告诉我,可以以公益服务中心的形式注册。”

“政府部门一面审核,一面给予烛光公益服务中心很多指导意见。功夫不负有心人,今年5月底,烛光公益服务中心正式注册成功了。”宋刚夫高兴地说。

■专家观点

中国社会科学院农村发展研究所社会问题研究中心主任于建嵘:

政府应该

规范引导

劳工组织

中国社会科学院农村发展研究所社会问题研究中心主任于建嵘表示,曾经接触过很多劳务工组织,所以也一直在关注深圳的劳务工组织被“例行检查”事件。根据他的了解,绝大部分劳工组织都只是想帮助那些在现代社会中处于弱势地位的工人,为他们提供一些服务和帮助,这有利于化解当前社会劳资双方之间的矛盾,也有利于帮助政府处理此类劳资纠纷。

他认为,很多劳工组织通过为工人提供一些最基本的法律常识等咨询服务,一方面让工人们在受到不公正对待时,能够捍卫自己的权益;另一方面也是引导工人们了解法律,通过法律途径去解决矛盾和纠纷。这样可以减少工人们通过信访、堵路等方式去维权,对于推动法治社会建设和发展是非常有益的。

“我觉得基层政府应该转化角度看待这个问题,一是发现他们的实际作用是在帮助政府解决社会矛盾,而不是添乱;二是对于劳务工组织,要去政治意识形态化,给他们的发展创造一个相对宽容的环境。”于建嵘说。

同时,他觉得当前广东省正在把社会建设作为一个非常重要的方面去推动和发展,深圳更是在很多地方走到了全国的前列。政府应该在社会建设的大背景下,规范和引导劳务工NGO的发展

Southern Daily

Translated by Charlie Vest

Reviewed by Shawn Shieh

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