China Watch Blog finds it incredible that a country with over 1.3 billion population still does not have adequate workers, particularly as workers move from rural areas to urban areas to work so that they can earn more pay, but apparently this trend is changing.
China Daily reported that coastal and inland cities are fiercely competing to attract migrant workers as China’s labour shortage spreads to less-developed central and western regions.
In Southwest China’s Chongqing, many firms have set up booths at railway and bus stations to persuade workers to stay home instead of returning to the coast. Tens of millions of migrant laborers travel by train or bus during the Spring Festival break, which ends on Feb 17.
At the city’s North Railway Station on Friday, about a dozen workers told China Daily that they will stay in their hometown if they can get similar wages.
Jiang Haitao, 21, who worked at Foxconn Technology Group’s Kunshan plant in East China’s Jiangsu province last year, said the corporation’s Chongqing operation offers a base salary that is only “slightly less”.
“I’d feel happier working in my hometown,” he said, adding that earning 200 yuan ($30) more outside “cannot buy the same happiness”.
Migrant workers in the east earned an average of 5 percent more than those in western regions in 2009, yet the disparity was 15 percent five years earlier, show figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.
On-site recruitment consultants from three leading manufactures in Chongqing, including Foxconn, refused to speculate on whether the municipality will face a labor shortage this year. However, on its website, the city’s labor bureau on Wednesday posted an open letter urging workers to find jobs close to home.
Chongqing aims to become the world’s largest laptop production hub, while Xiyong Micro-electronics Industrial Park alone needs a workforce of 400,000 by 2015, says the letter. It adds: “We have sufficient job opportunities and decent incomes, as well as low-cost rental homes and favorable policies on schooling.”
Many coastal cities have strict requirements that make it difficult for migrant workers to send their children to public schools.
As of Wednesday, 71,000 of the 576,000 workers who returned to celebrate the Spring Festival in Chongqing had decided to stay, according to labor officials.
Enterprises in coastal areas are not giving up, however, firms in Shanghai have dispatched almost 400 buses to bring in workers from Anhui, Henan and Hubei provinces.
“We’ve received many orders but there aren’t enough workers,” Hu Qiubin, a toy company boss in Shanghai, told China Central Television. He explained that, in recent years, his company has sent more than 20 buses for returning laborers, but this year two had been enough. From a peak of about 1,300 employees, only 300 now work at Hu’s company.
Officials in Shaoxing, East China’s Zhejiang province, reportedly contacted authorities in labor-rich Chongqing and Sichuan province for help in hiring more workers, only to be turned down.
The shortage of manpower is a major problem for the labor-intensive manufacturers on the coast. At Guangzhou Railway Station in South China’s Guangdong province, many company representatives held placards on Friday to grab the attention of arriving workers.
Workers claim they have happiness working nearer to home.If you think China Watch Blog's information is useful, click on cup of coffee on left hand side and make a small contribution via PayPal