“China is basically controlled by the capitalists. All I can do at the moment is speak up for the workers,” declared Qing Tong, formerly one of China’s hundreds of millions of workers who migrate from the countryside to work in big-city factories, but now a writer and able to speak to the 'Financial Times' (17 July).
“It seems that the government chooses not to see certain things, so we must keep shouting complaints into their ears non-stop. Only after they hear us will they start seeing.” Qing used to work at Foxconn, the gigantic Taiwanese-owned factory complex with 400,000 workers where iPods and iPads are made.
The FT also reports that “Workers in China can join a trade union, but it has to be a branch of the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which is affiliated to the Communist Party. In some cases the head of the local union branch is also the factory boss.
“The recent labour unrest has sometimes been as much about protesting against such conflicts of interest in the trade unions as it has been about the management”.
Another migrant worker declares: “We are a new generation of migrant workers — our thinking is different from the last. We want to be treated with respect.”