China to fire 1.8 mn people in coal, steel sector

Beijing, Feb 29 (IANS) China is planning to lay off 1.8 million workers from the coal and steel sector owing to industrial overcapacity, Minister of Human Resource and Social Security Yin Weimin announced on Monday.

Yin spoke about the difficulties facing the industry due to downward pressure on the economy and excess capacity, which was creating problems for some companies and leading to loss of jobs, EFE news reported.

A report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China released last week said measures adopted by the Chinese government have led to an increase in industrial overcapacity of the country, disconnected from the actual demand of the market.

The Chamber said the Chinese steel industry’s production is more than twice that of its four closest competitors put together (Japan, India, US and Russia) and that between 2011-2012 China manufactured more cement than the US did in the entire 20th century.

Early February, the Chinese government announced a plan to cut back its steel production capacity up to a maximum of 150 tonnes annually, 12.5 percent of the current production, over the next five years.

China created 13.12 million urban jobs last year, exceeding the government target of 10 million, while the urban employment rate stood at 4.05 percent, Yin said.

Since 2013, China has created more than 13 million jobs annually, although the 2015 figure was 0.8 percent less than that of the previous year.

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