From the Wall Street Journal:
Recent strikes in China are highlighting a technique widely used by foreign companies to keep costs down: hiring large numbers of “trainee” workers who can be paid less than the legal minimum wage.
The practice, while legal, has been a source of complaint for at least some workers during recent strikes, and labor experts say foreign companies may have to refrain from overly relying on it.
For companies operating in China, “the whole labor-unrest saga should lead to a rethinking of labor relations,” said Andreas Lauffs, head of law firm Baker & McKenzie’s employment-law group in Hong Kong.
As China’s migrant workers become more aware of their legal rights, they are starting to question some employment practices, such as excessive overtime and the wide use of trainees on the factory floor.
For more on labor rights, see also an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled “China’s Workers Learn to Speak Up — But Carefully.”