Report: New-generation migrant workers get less rights, pay

16:45, February 21, 2011      

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In the context of increasing worldwide scrutiny of China's GDP, China's central government conducted an in-depth investigation into its young rural migrant workers and called for closer attention to be paid to this social group when the report found their lives are worsening.

The average monthly income for the new generation of migrant workers amounts to only 1,748 RMB, or 266 U.S. dollars, which is half the income of urban enterprises workers. Younger migrant workers also get paid 167 RMB less per month and receive worse social security compared to their fathers, according to the report released yesterday by All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

New features

Picture shows a young migrant worker who soon will depart for Guangdong province - the richest province in China - in Sichuan province on Feb. 26

The new generation of rural migrant workers, or the 'Cainozoic migrant,' refer to the Chinese young people born in rural areas, between 16 and 30 years old, who migrant outside countryside for non-agricultural jobs. Currently, there is a population of 150 million Cainozoic migrant workers in China, according to the official stats. The emergence of a new generation of peasant-workers provides an important turning point for overall planning for urban-rural development, helping China’s urbanization and promoting the transformation of Chinese traditional society structure.

Some 67 percent of the new generation received a high school education or a higher level, which is 18 percentage points higher than their fathers. But they gain weaker professional skills and simpler life experience — 60 percent of those under 30 are unmarried, and 74 percent of them were schooled before migration.

They also have stronger motives than the elder generation. Most of them stay in coastal cities, in the hope of getting better chances for life changes, while the majority of their elder generation migrates merely to earn a living.

About 81 percent of the new workers concentrate in secondary industry, while most of the rest in the tertiary industry.

New difficulties

The cartoon of the report on the new general migrant workers. (Xinhua Photo)

The new generation encounters difficulties not only from the economic pressure but also from insecure legal rights. Only 85 percent of them work with a legal contract, which is 4 percentage points lower than the urban enterprises staff and 68 percent out of the contracts signed do not indicate concrete amount of the monthly income. And 17 percent of them do not hold the official hard copies of the labor contracts.

They change jobs more frequently — 2.9 times the previous generation — and 38 percent of them uit the jobs because "little chance for development."

The social security system seems cater very little to their needs in forms of endowment insurance, medical insurance, jobless insurance, employment injury insurance and maternity insurance, respectively 24 point, 15 point, 30 point, 9 point, 30 points lower than the urban enterprises workers.

Report also reflects that 36.5 percent are earning lives in dangerous working environments, such as extreme high or low temperature, noise pollution and power plant pollutants.

By Li Yancheng, People's Daily Online

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