Shanghai faces labour crisis

April 26th, 2012 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 26 (IANS) China’s Shanghai city is facing a shortfall of migrant labour. The city’s human resource watchdog says it is happening mainly due to the rising cost of living and the labour’s attraction to booming labour markets elsewhere.

But a survey has found that the soaring cost of living and lack of opportunities to merge into the local culture are some of the prominent reasons that have turned millions of migrant workers in China’s Shanghai city a frustrated lot.

There are some four million migrant workers in Shanghai - about 40 percent of the city’s total employed population, the Shanghai Daily reported. China has over 240 million farm labourers who have left their home towns to work in the cities.

Employers in Shanghai say it is especially difficult to retain younger people.

“The entry-level jobs at construction sites now pay about 5,000 yuan (about $790) a month at our company,” Guo Daohua, a work site supervisor with Shanghai Road and Bridge Group. “But it’s still difficult to attract the young migrant workers born after 1985.”

Guo, himself a migrant labourer from Sichuan province has worked on construction sites for eight years. He said young workers were more sensitive to the harsh outdoor work environment and the long hours involved in working and commuting to work.

The survey by Beijing-based Tsinghua University found Chinese migrant workers describing Shanghai being one of the places where they felt least happy.

Some workers said they seldom had time to communicate with local residents, given the work that kept them busy and the long distances from construction sites to downtown areas.

Li, a researcher, said younger migrant workers had higher expectations of city life than their parents had, and wanted to settle down in cities. Consequently, they tended to feel frustrated more easily by their isolation from the local community.

Quanzhou, a second-tier city in southeast China’s Fujian province, was the place where workers were the happiest, partly due to lower inflation and a higher degree of acceptance by local residents.

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