Thursday, December 10, 2009

Labor issues back on the political agenda

117042 653dd282f4 oImage by The MediaMentor  via Flickr
What does it mean when the China Daily publishes two stories on labor issues today? One is about the number of arbitration cases that has skyrocketed in Beijing. The other about workers, stranded in Sichuan, waiting for their wages. 
Those sad stories can unfortunately be published every day in China. What is interesting is that the official English-language propaganda tool of the central government is doing it today. It indicates a shift in policies, where the one-year freeze on active labor policies is over. To make foreign investors not even more weary than they were because of the economic crisis, many new laws and regulations, on labor contracts, arbitration and minimum wages were not actively enforced by local governments.
Those days seem to be over: the central government is resuming its pro-active labor policies, the official trade union (ACFTU) is allowed to comment again, and we have not seen that for over a year. Be prepared for more changes as the Chinese New Year is approaching.
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