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Debt Owed to China’s Workers

Strikes and worker protests are not new in China. In the manufacturing heartland, the Pearl River Delta, there are up to 10,000 labor disputes each year. Indeed, back in the spring of 2008, a high-ranking local union official described strikes as “as natural as arguments between a husband and wife.But what we are seeing now is an intensive phase of worker activism that reflects the rapid recovery of the Chinese economy and, more importantly, the failure of the government to tackle the fundamental issues that give rise to these disputes: low pay, the lack of formal channels for worker grievances and demands, and the exclusion of migrant workers from education, health care and social services in the cities.
Source Han Dongfang, workers’ rights advocate and founder of the non-profit China Labour Bulletin, writes in the International Herald Tribune.
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