Guide Laid-off workers in a workers state: unemployment with Chinese characteristics

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  1. Shop by category
  2. Laid-Off Workers in a Workers’ State: Unemployment with Chinese Characteristics - Google книги
  3. Unemployment in China

In , the Supreme People Court put an end to any hope that the legal system might adjudicate such disputes, saying that plaintiffs from state companies had no standing in Chinese courts.

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In most cases [redundancy pay] is a pretty derisory sum. Sometimes they get pension benefits, sometimes they don't. If people made redundant are middle-aged or elderly their job prospects are very slim, especially if they have been doing one job all their lives. If you are getting into your mids, its increasingly difficult to find a job. Gold, William J.

White-collar workers are also starting to put a fights. There, after distributing small Chinese flags, they quickly pulled on red and blue T-shirts that read, Protect the Rights of Downsized Bank Workers. By the time they had unfurled their protest banners, police officers had swept everyone into five waiting public buses.

Similar public protests have been staged in Beijing and provincial cities. Former bank employees have stormed branch offices to mount sit-ins. Strategizing via online message boards and text messages, they speak in code and frequently change cellphone numbers. Their acts of defiance are never mentioned in state-run news media. According to one organizer, a scrappy former bank teller named Wu Lijuan, there are at least 70, people seeking to regain their old jobs or receive monetary compensation, a sizable wedge of the , who were laid off during a decade-long purge.

They tossed us out like garbage, Wu, 44, said before a recent protest, scanning fellow restaurant patrons for potential eavesdroppers. The former bank employees have no independent trade union or association to take up their cause. To be middle-aged and live off your elderly parents is humiliating, and it can become unbearable, said Huang Gaoying, 49, a teller who was dismissed from the Industrial and Commercial Bank in According to an informal tally by protest leaders, dozens of former bank staff members most of them unsuccessful at finding new jobs have committed suicide.

The government encourages entrepreneurial spirit as way to find jobs for people laid off from state jobs. In Shanghai a special effort has been made to encourage males over 40, who lack skills wanted by modern companies, to start their own business. The Communist Party, whose legitimacy is pegged to maintaining economic growth, is very nervous about high unemployment rates, labor discontent and frustrated workers and job seekers.

For Chinese authorities, this is an issue with serious political and social implications that will impact the country's stability. During the global economic crisis in and the government ordered state-owned companies not to lay people off. Labor disputes and protests surged in , as laid-off workers took to the streets of factory cities to demand back pay owed to them.

Laid-Off Workers in a Workers’ State: Unemployment with Chinese Characteristics - Google книги

There have also been links to a poor economic situation and spikes in the crime rate. If anything labor shortages problems could worsen in the future. China currently has million working age people compared to million in the United States. Because of the one-child policy the number of working age people in China will shrink to million in while the number in the United States will rise to million.

The number of young people at work-force entry age 16 to 24 will start dropping off in and is predicted to fall by a third between and This is expected to create labor shortages and wage increases. As of the mid s, Never before has a country had such a large work force to one time. Starting in the immense workforce will start to shrink as the number of workers declines because of the one child policy while the number of workers needed to take care of the aging population will rise.

Underemployed rural workers should be able to take up much of the slack. Things will become more dire in when the number of people over 60 increases to million, from around million today, with a mind-boggling million 80 or older. As the working-age population shrinks, labor cost will rise. Overseas orders are slumping and rising wages are making it tougher to do business in China, Stanley Lau, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said last month. The group represents Hong Kong business people with factories in the Pearl River Delta area, which covers a region including southern Guangdong province.

It has about 3, company members, mostly manufacturers selling goods overseas. Alistair Thornton, China analyst at IHS Global Insight, said Guangdong's huge army of factory staff -- many of them migrant workers -- would go on feeling the effects of the global slowdown.

There's a conflict there," he said. Ji Shao, a Beijing-based labour expert at Capital University of Economics and Business, said she had just come back from Shenzhen, and painted a pessimistic picture. She said that a huge number of small enterprises could be forced to shut their doors, pressured by high costs, difficulty accessing loans and the global downturn.

Manufacturing is a key driver of growth and employment in China. A fall in month-on-month exports in October -- triggered in part by the deepening eurozone debt crisis -- fuelled fears for the sector.

Mark Williams, China economist at Capital Economics, said the level of exports in the country had remained essentially flat from one month to the next since the first quarter of the year. A survey conducted by banking giant HSBC showed that China's manufacturing activity -- which has largely been contracting in recent months -- slumped to its lowest level in 32 months in November Analysts say any more negative economic readings will force the government to undergo a significant policy turnaround as leaders, fearing mass unrest, seek to avoid a repeat of the huge job losses during the global crisis.

Until recently, the government had been focused on fighting soaring inflation and rolled out a series of measures to ease price rises, such as hiking interest rates or curbing the amount of money banks can lend. Over the years, factory conditions have improved. The average salaries for workers rose Many localities have raised minimum wages.

The conditions in the factory are better and some workers spend their free time taking computer classes and the like to increase their marketable skills so they can get ahead. Working hours are often determined by how many orders the factory has.

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Unemployment in China

Many workers want to works as many hours as possible to earn as much as they can to earn as much money as they can. They sometimes deliberately seek factories that require workers to work long hours. China is full Horatio Alger stories. It is not uncommon for a day laborer ro work to work his way up to foreman in three years, and literate farmers with a knack for business to become millionaires. In labor shortages began appearing in the Pearl River delta in southern China and have since spread to factories all over China. Nationwide today, by one estimate, there is a shortage of 2.


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There are shortage in all skilled levels, but particularly among skilled workers. By one estimate there is a shortage of about two million workers in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. China also suffers from a labor shortage in highly skilled positions such pilots, doctors, lawyers, accountants and IT professionals.

One of the problems here is the dream of living abroad. When the economy starting recovering after the economic crisis in and manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta had a hard time finding workers. Many recruitment centers in the Pearl River Delta see acute labor shortages when factories resume production in February after the New Year break. The shortage is the result of three decades of rapid economic expansion colliding with demographic changes due to China's one-child policy, economists say. Many skilled workers have found higher wages in the Shanghai area or interior cities such Changsa and Chengdu closer to their home.

The pay is too low, Whoever pays high, I will go there. I have some education and I think I can do better than that Most of them want ti work at companies that offer lots of holidays even if it means earning a bit less Such being the case, the number of skilled workers is most likely to shrink in China in the future. To attract workers better health benefits and housing subsidies were being offered.

In Shenzhen labor shortages, wildcat strikes and walkouts have become common Some companies have responded by offering better wages, building better dormitories with video rooms and libraries and offering health and welfare benefits to attract workers. Some factories have had to shut down because they can not find workers willing to work cheap enough to make the products at a competitive prose and companies have moved their facilities to countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia or Indonesia where they can still find labor forces willing to work for low wages.

Thousands of mostly Taiwanese-and Hong Kong-owned factories have left the Pearl River Delta, either moving inland or abroad where it is cheap or closing down. The CCP leadership was even forced to acquiesce to Guangdong workers adopting some form of collective-bargaining tactics to improve their wages and working environment.

As the labor shortage became more severe, 12 provinces and major cities raised their minimum wage in the first quarter of this year. The increase rate was a whopping 20 percent or more in half of these regions. It is expected that as their bargaining positions continue to improve over the years, Chinese workers may clamor for the right to set up free trade unions, which Beijing deems potentially subversive.

In the future labor shortage will become more pronounced across China. The State Statistical Bureau indicated that total pool of potential workersa reference to Chinese aged between 16 to reached Yet this cohort is expected to start declining from onward. According to Zhong Dajun, head of an economic consultancy in Beijing, at least 10 million new blue-collar workers entered the labor force annually in the mid-to-late s. Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist with Mizuho Securities, argued the labor shortage, expected to plague China in coming years, provides opportunities as well as challenges for the country's economy.

Mo Rong, a labour analyst with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security MLSS , calculates that approximately 30 million people are competing for six million job vacancies during The MLSS also says that a monthly average of 20, people registered as unemployed in the first seven months of The authorities currently have two major channels via which data on lay-offs is collated, both of which are problematical:. Political factors notwithstanding, researchers on the mainland have summarised the main problems regarding data collection on unemployment as a combination of the following: As already mentioned, the rural areas are not even considered to have unemployment.

Labour researchers who take into account the above factors usually arrive at figures much higher than official admissions on the scale of general joblessness. From the first, women have suffered disproportionately from lay-offs. The rate was even higher in some provinces. For example, women made up 75 percent of the laid off workers in Jiangsu Province, and 80 percent in Heilongjiang. Another study of lay-offs in the s in seven provinces and four cities found that the ratio of women among the laid off workers in Jiangxi and Heilongjiang was very high, at 80 percent and 73 percent respectively.

Based on an examination of a variety of statistics, we believe that over 60 percent of the total unemployed are female. Although the Regulations Concerning the Arrangement of Surplus Workers of the State Owned Enterprises were passed in when the disproportionate burden of lay-offs on women was already abundantly clear, they fail to address the issue of discrimination in lay-offs. In all these cases, such lay-offs are supposed to be voluntary, but in practice employees generally have little choice.

Women workers also find it harder to get work. Privately-owned companies, joint-ventures and wholly foreign-owned enterprises cannot register a worker as xiagang. The state therefore is not directly responsible for the welfare of xiagang workers as they are still formally connected to their company or work unit danwei.

During this period, the centres are to recommend workers to different enterprises. They may not refuse to go for interviews set up by the centres, and if they do so on two occasions, their assistance will be terminated. The vast majority of demonstrations reported to us from the mainland involve laid off workers protesting at non-payment of living allowances and lay off wages.

Morever the protests are invariably directed at the companies and employers not at government re-employment centres referred to in the directive. China still lacks an adequate definition of what constitutes xiagang and there are considerable regional differences as to what the term means. As mentioned above, there is no uniform usage of the term xiagang and it can refer to various situations. Looking at the situation from a national perspective, it appears that a hierarchy of xiagang has emerged.