Workshop Internazionale: Capire il Lavoro in Cina

Articolo originale:
In occasione della Giornata Internazionale dei Lavoratori, Iscos in collaborazione con l’Ambasciata Italiana a Pechino ha organizzato la conferenza “Understanding Chinese Labour”. L’evento, che ha visto la partecipazione di accademici, ricercatori e attivisti di primo piano, ha cercato di offrire dei punti di vista che vadano oltre i soliti luoghi comuni sulle questioni del lavoro in Cina. In particolare, i vari relatori si sono soffermati su temi d’estrema attualità quali il legame tra migrazioni e politiche della terra, la consapevolezza dei diritti tra i migranti, il ruolo dei nuovi media nel promuovere l’attivismo operaio, la contrattazione collettiva, la discriminazione di genere e le problematiche della società civile.
Segue un riassunto degli interventi (in inglese):

Understanding the link between land, urbanization and migration

Luigi Tomba, Centre on China in the World, Australian National University
The process of urbanization is the engine of China’s growth. The process of conversion of agricultural and rural land (still owned collectively by the villages) to industrial and construction land is central to explaining urbanization and industrialization, but also to determining who the winners and losers are in this process. In this presentation I will use some examples to show how the solutions to the problem of land conversion remain extremely fragmented despite attempts to regulate land transfers, and how the outcome might, depending on the local situation, lead to very different outcomes, that range from sudden speculative wealth for rural communities in the peri-urban areas, to poverty and migration in the hinterland.

A “rights awakening” among Chinese migrant workers?

Ivan Franceschini, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Since the Honda strike of the Spring 2010, much has been written about a supposed “rights awakening” among Chinese workers, especially those young migrants who were born in the Eighties and the Nineties, the so-called “new generation of migrant workers”. But how much do these workers really know about the labour law? How do they perceive their rights? Drawing from a survey on five hundred migrant workers employed in nine Italian metal mechanic factories in Shenzhen, Chongqing and Yangzhou, this presentation will provide an overview of the complex and contradictory between Chinese migrant workers and the law.

Migrant workers and micro-blogging: The issue of voice and empowerment

Marina Svensson, Lund University
In recent years much attention all over the world has been given to how social media open up new possibilities for citizens to debate social and political issues. The development of micro-blogging (weibo) in China has been spectacular with Sina Weibo in late 2012 claiming to have some 400 million users. Migrant NGOs and individual migrant workers have also begun to use this platform to spread information about labour issues and individual grievances and for networking purposes. But how effective is Weibo for marginalised groups such as migrant workers, and are their voices really heard? This presentation provides an overview of the situation, possibilities, and obstacles for migrant workers to make themselves heard on the Chinese social networks.

Prospects for collective bargaining in China

Duan Yi, Shenzhen Laowei Law Firm
In the past few years, collective bargaining has been one of the most heatedly debated issues in the field of labour relations in China. Although the Chinese labour legislation already allows the employees to “negotiate” collectively with their employers, this negotiation process is still very different from a genuine collective bargaining. Drawing from the experience of the Laowei Law Firm, one of the few Chinese legal firms specialized in labour disputes on the behalf of the workers, this presentation will outline the problems in the current processes of collective negotiation and describe the prospects for legal reform.

The challenges for female migrant workers in today’s China

Lü Xiaoquan, Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counselling and Service Centre
In China today there are almost ninety million female migrant workers. Besides those problems which are not gender-related, as the lack of social security and vulnerability to occupational diseases, female migrant workers also face specific challenges like employment discrimination, sexual harassments and illegal dismissals during pregnancy. Furthermore, female migrant workers are often employed in informal sectors, where there are less legal guarantees. For example, approximately 90% of domestic workers in China are female migrant workers. Drawing from the field experience of the Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counselling and Service Centre, one of the foremost women NGOs in China, this presentation will outline the main challenges faced by female migrant workers today in China, with a special focus on the issue of domestic workers’ legal rights.

What can international cooperation do for Chinese workers?

Laura Battistin, Trade Union Institute for Development Cooperation
Since the late Nineties, various grassroots labour organizations have been established in China to provide legal aid and other essential services to migrant workers. What are the peculiarities of these labour NGOs? Specifically, what kind of activities do they implement and what challenges do they have to face in their everyday life? Drawing from the field experience of the Trade Union Institute for Development Cooperation, this presentation not only will answer these questions, but will also outline some possible strategies for international donors that are willing to implement cooperation projects in the field of labour rightsinChina.

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