Rural–Urban Migration in China and Indonesia
Edited by Xin Meng, Chris Manning, Li Shi and Tadjuddin Nur Effendi
Chapter 3: Jobs, Working Hours and Remuneration Packages for Migrant and Urban Workers
3 Jobs, Working Hours and Remuneration Packages for Migrant and Urban Workers Paul Frijters, Leng Lee and Xin Meng 1 INTRODUCTION China is currently undergoing a transformation from an agricultural society to a modem society dominated by industry and services. By 2006, roughly 130 million of China's 900 million rural workers had shifted from the countryside to the city (NBS 2007). In some cities, rural-to-urban migrant workers already account for half, or even two-thirds, of the total labour force. How do these migrant workers fare in city labour markets relative to their urban counterparts? Are they competing in the same labour market? These are important policy issues, as well as being of academic interest. In the past, migrant workers faced discrimination with regard to the types of jobs they were allowed to take and the compensation packages they received (Meng and Zhang 2001). The Chinese government has moved to eliminate such discrimination but is facing resistance from local governments and employers. Local governments are expected to protect the employment and earnings of local people-not migrants. To achieve this goal, they may introduce measures that make it more difficult for migrant workers to compete with the local workforce, or at least put migrants in a position where they have limited power to bargain for better conditions. The main priority of employers, meanwhile, is to minimize labour costs. As long as they are able to avoid serious scrutiny from the local government, they may underpay migrants, fail to make mandatory contributions on...
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