China: Migrant Workers Want ‘Decent Work’

  • Kate Hannan
Keywords: China, rural-to-urban migrants, young workers, wages and conditions, and “decent work”


China now has a second generation of rural-to-urban migrant workers. An estimated eighty percent of these workers were born in the 1980s or after. Many of these young workers are unwilling to follow their parents in acquiescing to dirty, exhausting backbreaking work. China’s young migrant workers are demanding ‘decent work’. They want increased wages that are paid in full and on time. They also want improved working conditions and some are expecting work that will provide them with ‘self-fulfilment and self-esteem’. In this contribution to the journal I discuss the reasons young migrant workers are unhappy with the employment and conditions on offer in China’s export manufacturing hubs.