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Factory workers cannot rely on the local government; they need a union to bargain with management

The massive strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory complex in Dongguan in April highlighted the growing demands of many workers in China for a decent pension and welfare benefits. Local governments and employers are now beginning to listen to those demands but their response has not always been welcomed by the workers.

Workers need to act before they get pushed into a corner

There is a saying in China that “A dog can jump over a high wall if it is pushed into a corner” (狗急跳墙). For many workers in China, the same applies: They can achieve remarkable feats but all too often they will only act when pushed to the limit.

Kunshan tragedy reveals long-term as well as immediate dangers of working in a dust-filled factory

The massive explosion that killed 75 workers and injured 180 others at an automotive components factory in Kunshan on Saturday highlighted once again the extreme dangers of working in a high-dust environment and the persistent failure of employers in China to adequately protect their employees.

Disposing of the evidence: How government officials make work-related accidents go away

When Zhang Lihua’s father was killed along with four co-workers in a road accident on the way to work last year, one of the top priorities of the local authorities was to make sure all the victims were cremated without delay.

Beijing comes up with yet another cunning plan to get rid of migrant workers

For years now, the municipal authorities in Beijing have been trying to control the city’s burgeoning population by making life more and more difficult for migrant workers. The message has been clear: We will tolerate you because we need you but you are not welcome to stay.

We need to give sanitation workers the respect and the pay they deserve

Just like many of the cleaners working in offices, hospitals and on the roadside, yesterday’s International Justice Day for Cleaners went by largely unnoticed.

Easing of restrictions on national college entrance exam not enough for “migrant” Zhou Shasha

It is supposed to be getting easier for the children of migrant workers to take the national college entrance examination. Try telling that to 19-year-old Zhou Shasha.

Why can only graduates get protection from employment discrimination in China?

It is that time of the year again in China: Record numbers of graduates will soon enter an increasingly competitive job market. And once again, the Chinese government is promising to do everything it can to help them get a job.

Want an internship at a Chinese bank? Your parents must have at least half a million yuan in their account

Everybody knows that students with well-connected parents stand a much better chance of getting a sought-after internship than those from less advantaged households. But while most companies will not openly advertise such discriminatory practices, many banks in China not only publicly announce their policy, they have clear guidelines on just how well-connected the parents have to be.

Nineteen-year-old activist plays key role in Shenzhen bus strike

Wedged between a smelly dump site and a busy port where ships sound their horns 24 hours a day is the workers’ dormitory of the Shenzhen East bus company. This has been home to 19-year-old Natalie (pseudonym) since she moved here from her hometown in Henan a year and a half ago.

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