【英语中国】春节后中国劳工抗议有所回升 China labour protests bounce back after holidays

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2016-5-12 23:06

小艾摘要: Labour protests in China bounced back from a minor dip last month, reflecting a new status quo of more frequent and widespread collective action as the country comes to grips with slower growth.While ...
China labour protests bounce back after holidays
Labour protests in China bounced back from a minor dip last month, reflecting a new status quo of more frequent and widespread collective action as the country comes to grips with slower growth.

While the leadership in Beijing has taken to calling China’s decelerating economic expansion the “new normal,” that transition has been accompanied by another shift: a consistently higher frequency of worker protests and strikes.

Protests nationwide recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s strike map totalled 207 in April, up from 172 the previous month and representing year-on-year growth of just over 5 per cent.

In China, labour incidents have historically tended to peak ahead of the Chinese New Year when migrant factory and construction workers are paid for their work before returning home for a long holiday, after which strike activity usually cooled off substantially. Both of those sectors have been hit particularly hard by a real estate slump whose knock-on effects have are still being felt throughout the economy, and in January protests hit a record high of 503.

But factory and construction workers angered by their employers’ behaviour are now joined more and more by those in other industries, with employers already squeezed by low demand and rising wages afforded far less breathing room after the new year festivities end.

Geoffrey Crothall, communications director at China Labour Bulletin, said that “what we are seeing now is a consistently high level of protests in an increasingly wide range of sectors, including many in the so-called new economy.”

The 19 protests recorded in the services sector last month, just shy of double the historical average, bear that out. Still, these were less than half the 54 protests seen in manufacturing during the period.

Protests prevalence has extended geographically as well: Hong Kong-adjacent Guangdong – a manufacturing powerhouse which has a long history of labour activism – recorded the highest number of protests at 26 in April. But activity elsewhere is on the rise, and last month five other provinces saw their own totals hit double digits.

上个月,中国的劳工抗议次数在小幅下降之后发生反弹,反映出一种新现状:随着经济增速的放缓,集体行动越来越频繁,波及范围越来越广。

尽管北京的领导层喜欢把中国的经济放缓称为“新常态”,但伴随转型发生了另一种变化:工人抗议与罢工的频率一直在提高。

“中国劳工通讯”(China Labour Bulletin)的罢工地图显示,4月份,全国记录在案的抗议次数为207次,高于前一个月的172次,年同比增加了5%以上。

从历史上看,中国的劳工事件通常在春节之前达到顶峰——春节时,制造业和建筑业的农民工在回家度过很长的假期之前,会领到劳动所得。春节之后,罢工活动通常会大幅冷却下来。房地产市场萎靡对这两个行业造成了特别大的冲击。如今,整个经济体仍感觉到房地产市场萎靡的连锁反应。今年1月,抗议活动达到了创纪录的503次。

但是,如今工厂和建筑工地的农民工被雇主行为激怒的现象更多地蔓延到其他行业。在新年欢庆过后,本已受到需求低迷和工资升高打击的雇主,感到喘息空间比以往小多了。

“中国劳工通讯”的沟通总监杰弗里?克罗塞尔(Geoffrey Crothall)说,“我们如今看到的是,抗议的烈度一直都很高,并且波及行业越来越广,包括很多所谓新经济行业。”

上个月,服务业记录在案的抗议有19次——差一点达到历史平均值的两倍——证明了这一点。尽管如此,这个数字还不足上月制造业54次抗议的一半。

抗议盛行也扩展到更多地区:毗邻香港的广东省——劳工运动历史悠久的制造业基地——4月发生的抗议达26次,为全国最高的。但所有其他地区的抗议活动也在增多,上月另外5个省的抗议数也达到了两位数。

译者/何黎

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