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Article

China's marginalised workers are waking up to their rights

[I]t is high time to improve the lot of workers, a marginalised group in China…Although they fuel China's economic miracle, they do not benefit from it. Despite their numbers, workers in China do not form a united force…There isn't an organisation such as a functioning trade union to bargain on their behalf or fight for their interests…As a result, the market is very much the employers' playground…But things are changing as the buds of independent unions are pushing through the harsh soil…"The new generation of workers is more aware of the power of collective bargaining," says Professor Chang Kai…He predicts that the Honda strike signals the end of China's era of cheap manufacturing…I hope this will be the beginning of the end of China's low-cost advantage – or the "low human rights advantage" as it is called…The human cost is too heavy…And the awakened workers will not allow it. [also refers to Apple, Foxconn (part of Hon Hai)]