China has plans to lay off 5-6 million workers from enterprises that have seen long-term losses, also known as "zombie enterprises".
The layoffs are planned over the next two to three years as part of efforts to cut down on industrial overcapacity and pollution, two sources with ties to the country’s leadership said.
The government’s plans for the mass layoffs would be the country’s boldest retrenchment programme - where the government cuts down on public spending - in almost two decades, one source said.
The restructuring of state-owned enterprises from 1998 to 2003 led to around 28 million jobs lost, and cost the central government about 73.1 billion RMB in resettlement funds.
Both sources requested to stay anonymous because they were not authorised to speak to media about the politically sensitive subject for fear of sparking social unrest.
The ministry of industry did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the reports.
On Monday, Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, said China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries. But he did not give a timeframe.