Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wages and Migrant Labor

A few more stories on the minimum wage issue, including the main news item that I'd mentioned:

It's incredible the number of migrant laborers in this country: somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 million. That's half the population of the United States. The situation of these laborers is similar to that of undocumented workers in the U.S. - low wages, few rights. Chinese migrant laborers, for those unfamiliar with the system, also have document troubles. The Chinese system puts heavy weight on the hukou, or registered permanent residence identity cards, that legally bind laborers to their home provinces. Migrant laborers coming from poor inland provinces to places like Guangdong, a wealthier province, are in a very murky area legally, adding to their woes. (For example, children of migrant laborers often cannot get into local schools since they have no legal status.)

The Peking Duck, a long-standing China blog, has an interesting entry on migrant labor and workplace rights:

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