Migrant Workers In China Essay

2510 words - 11 pages

As the fast development of technology and transportation in the past few decades, the flow of workforce has become increasingly frequent in China. Millions of farmers in the rural areas in China have moved to cities for good jobs and better living conditions since 1980s (Gui, Berry and Zheng 599). However, many of they are treated unfriendly and even deprived the rights of equally development (Lin 1). These reveal the unsatisfactory conditions of the migrant workers in China and lead to increasing concern of the welfare of them. Therefore, the government should improve their working and living quality by implementing legislation and policies, reforming social security system and providing ...view middle of the document...

It is estimated that the rural-urban migrants will reach 150 million in the following years (Knight and Gunatilaka). The migrant workers are mainly young men aged between 20 and 30 years old with at most a junior high school degree (Zhang and Luo 172). These young workers, who concentrate in manufacturing, constructing and service sectors of the economy, tend to suffer from longer hours of work without legal labour contract or working agreements with employers without a legal urban residency (Zhao). They are also confronted with occupational and wage discrimination (Liu). A study conducted by All-China Federation of Trade Unions in 2006 reveals that 65% of the migrant workers are conducting the so-called ‘Three D jobs’, which refers to dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs (Smyth and Gao 164). Moreover, they have limited access to the urban services due to their identity as rural household and are viewed as outsiders by those who have urban households (Li). They are looked down upon and regarded as inferior to urban registered residents. In sum, they suffer not only physically in their workplace, but also mentally as being discriminated and isolated by urban residents.
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As many migrant workers suffer from unfairness in the workplace due to no labour contract, the Chinese government should regulate to force companies to sign legal labour contract with all migrant employees to protect them. The labor contract regulates the basic rights and responsibilities for employees and employers in the workplace (Picard and Wildasin). However, as stated earlier, a quantity of migrant workers have to work longer hours and lower salary without the protection of labor contract (Fang and Sek-yum Ngai). The Judiciary Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress reported that only one in five enterprises have signed labour contracts with their workers in China, and even though some migrant workers have signed contracts with their employers, many of them are informal, which do not clearly state the basic rights of labourers including minimum wages, working conditions, working hours and social insurance provisions (Han et al. 59). As such, many of the migrant labourers are not fully protected while working for their employers. Therefore, government should put it in laws that compulsory working labor contract should cover all of its employees. Enterprises are obliged to treat their employees equally, no matter they are local registered or rural registered. The standards of minimum wages, working conditions and working hours should all be the same. In addition, literature reveals that migrant workers in China bear an unreasonably high proportion of working injury morbidity and deaths caused by working injuries than urban registered workers (Wang et al.). For workers without a labour contract with enterprises, they have to bear all the costs of working injury, so the government should specify that occupational health and safety (OH&S) should be...

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