This article is about a new joint report from Tsinghua University and the China Youth Development Foundation. The report suggests that without supporting the demands and understanding the characteristics of the new era of post-80s migrant workers, the current situation of often violent protests and frequent strikes will become even more serious and complicated.
The report, based on research in the Pearl River Delta, states that the new generation of migrant workers demand that official trade unions provide them with a formal channel for protest, as well as regional trade union elections and consultation reform. Without these reforms, strikes and protests could continue as the current trade union system is unfit for purpose.
In the past, migrant workers generally had a low education level and relied mainly on family and their hometown for advice. The new generation however has a higher education level and is increasingly reliant on networks of friends, classmates and colleagues. The ability to form formal groups is therefore more important than ever before, as is reform of legal rights protection and the right to strike.
The report states that social stability can only be preserved by respecting the workers’ demands and quickly provide them with a channel to defend their rights and interests, otherwise the number of violent protests will increase.