Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with winners of the title "Model Workers" at the office of the All China Federation of Trade Unions, ahead of International Workers' Day, in Beijing, capital of China, April 28, 2013. [Photo: Xinhua/Ju Peng]
President Xi Jinping paid tribute to outstanding workers on Sunday and called on the country's trade unions to be innovative and adjust to social changes.
Xi made the speech at a meeting with recipients of the "Model Workers" title at the headquarters of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, just ahead of International Workers' Day, which falls on May 1.
He said he expects the working class to set an example in realizing the country's collective dream of national revival.
"Happiness does not fall out of the blue and the dream will not come true by itself," he said. "We need to be down-to-earth and work hard."
The working class is a reliable and firm foundation for the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as a primary force in building a moderately prosperous society, according to the president.
China should lean on the working class in its efforts to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, he added.
Xi said he hopes all workers will fulfill their responsibilities to the country and combine their personal desires with the national dream.
He also called on society and the public to respect workers and their work.
"We should uphold the idea that working hard is the most honorable, noblest, greatest and most beautiful virtue," he said.
Xi pledged to protect the rights and interests of workers and ensure social justice so that all workers can live a dignified life.
Senior CPC and government officials should learn from model workers, the president said.
Xi called on the country's trade unions to meet both the expectations of workers and the requirements of the times.
"Trade unions should listen to workers and protect their legitimate rights and interests, including those of transient laborers from villages. The unions should make substantial efforts to resolve their difficulties in order to promote a harmonious social labor relationship," said Xi.
"The CPC has pinned high hopes on trade unions and workers have great expectations for them," said Xi.
Xi described the unions' role as a bridge between the CPC and workers.
"The trade unions are an important social pillar for the regime of a socialist country," he said.
"The road for the development of trade unions with Chinese characteristics is an important component of China's socialist path," Xi said.
He urged the unions to stick to a proper path of development and broaden themselves continuously.
Xi asked CPC committees and governments at all levels to improve their leadership over trade unions and provide them with more resources so as to help them fulfill their duties.
Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress, said at a Sunday meeting that trade unions should shoulder their obligations to unite workers and help build a moderately prosperous society.
Li, also chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, called for promoting harmonious employment relations and protecting employees' interests through the establishment of trade unions and a consultative salary system.
Li also urged trade unions to innovate their working methods and boost their abilities.