Emboldened Chinese Workers Press For Change

From NPR:

Labor experts point out that the younger workers lack their parents’ mental toughness. They cite this as one factor behind the 10 suicides this year at nearby Foxconn, which makes iPhones and iPods for Apple.

But the younger generation is more aware of its democratic and legal rights. Each department at Honda Lock elected two workers’ representatives. One worker surnamed Huang says his colleagues will definitely represent him better than the factory’s official union.

“The union is really just part of the management. They’re paid by the management, so they obey the management. What use are they? As far as we’re concerned, there is no real union here,” he says.

Ji Shao is a labor expert at the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. She says that as the recession wanes, Pearl River Delta export firms are getting more orders from customers. Workers therefore expect more pay, and she says the unrest in the area is likely to spread.

She warns China’s leaders to listen to the demands of the new generation of peasant workers.

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