chapter  6
17 Pages

Low wages and poor job security?

Amid what has been a great success story overall, China’s workers are often seen as at least relative losers since the onset of economic reform. According to Marc Blecher (2006: 405-6), they lost their previous secure employment, while their relative wages were bid down by the massive reserve of rural labour. He concludes: ‘China’s workers have lost their world.’ The story of China’s coal miners gives considerable support for that view but also suggests that not all have been losers at all times.