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Manufacturing in China: Labor Unrest Rises

Posted By Jeff Moad, November 28, 2011 at 2:05 PM, in Category: Global Value Networks

As the growth of China's economy begins to slow, many manufacturers there are reportedly facing a rash of strikes and labor unrest, as workers react to employer efforts to reduce costs.

A series of strikes and protests have broken out in shoe factories in Dongguan and in plants in other industrial centers. Workers are reportedly complaining that employers are cutting back on overtime, in some cases forcing employees to work excessive weekday hours in order to avoid paying overtime on weekends.

The strikes in some ways echo last summer's labor unrest in China when some workers struck for and received wage increases. The latest round of strikes, however, seem to revolve around overtime and working conditions.

The unrest comes as manufacturing activity and export growth are slowing in China as a result of ongoing economic problems in the West. Recent studies by HSBC Holdings indicate that Chinese manufacturing and purchasing activity both contracted in October. The HSBC manufacturing index for China was at a 32-month low.

Do reports of rising labor unrest in China concern you? Do they suggest increased risk levels? Or do you see these as isolated incidents?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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