More Chinese labour unrest hits foreign firms

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More Chinese labour unrest hits foreign firms

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In China, growing industrial unrest is pitting foreign manufacturers against increasingly assertive workers.

A strike at a Japanese-owned electronics factory in Tianjin is the latest high-profile example where people want better wages and working conditions.

The sight of staff sitting around closed factory gates is becoming more and more common.

Labour costs have been rising, partly encouraged by a government that wants to turn farmers and rural communities into more confident consumers.

But Professor Yi Xianrong of China’s Social Science Academy says the country will always have an overwhelming source of low-cost labour because two-thirds of the whole population is rural.

Weeks of strikes have disrupted production at various firms. Japanese companies, with their usually tight supply chains, have been particularly vulnerable.

A string of worker suicides at iPhone manufacturer Foxconn led the company to offer staff a 66 per cent performance-based wage hike.

Some analysts say that unless the Communist Party-run government steps in, the growing unrest could challenge its grip on power.