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New Statistical Report on Migrant Workers Cuts Section on Rights

In April 2019, China’s National Bureau of Statistics released its latest annual report on migrant workers. It was probably the most underwhelming edition in many years, containing the usual sections on demographics, employment, migrant children education, and urban integration. However, this year differed in that there was no mention of labour rights issues. According to the document, the total migrant population in 2018 was 288 million people, an increase of 1.84 million (0.6 percent) over the previous year. While the number of migrants has continued to increase, the growth rate has slowed, as the migrant population showed clear signs of aging. In 2018, the average age of migrant workers was 40.2, a six-month increase from the previous year. Migrants born after 1980 were 51.5 percent of the total migrant population, an increase of more than 1 per cent from 2017, with 43.2 percent of this cohort born in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2018, migrant workers employed in the third sector represented 50.5 percent of the migrant population, an increase of 2.5 percent from 2017. The average monthly wage was 3,721 yuan, an increase of 236 yuan (6.8 percent). For the first time in years, the Report did not include a section on the situation of workers’ rights protection, which formerly provided statistics on overtime, labour contract coverage, and wage arrears. Other sections also did not provide any information about rights violations. The document only noted that the participation of migrant workers in activities organised by unspecified community organisations had increased by 0.9 percent, reaching 26.5 percent, and that 9.8 percent of migrant workers were members of unions. KL

(Source: National Bureau of Statistics)

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