The Crisis of World Labor

Linden, Marcel van der

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/05/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20957

Both the size and composition of the world working class have changed dramatically over the past four decades. But these massive shifts are not reflected in the strength of workers' organizations.



Simultaneously, enormous shifts are taking place within separate regions. An historic migration from the countryside to swelling megacities is under way. In 2000, the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security estimated that there were 113 million migrant workers in the country. Ten years later that number had more than doubled to 240 million, including 150 million working outside their home areas. Of those 150 million about 72% were employed in manufacturing, construction, food and beverage, wholesale and retail industries, and hospitality.

In India, internal labor migration has exploded since the 1990s, the temporary and seasonal migration rate being highest in poor regions like Nagaland and Madya Pradesh.

Such shifts are often accompanied by an intensification of social struggles. In Indonesia, the Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (Indonesian Trade Union Confederation) organized a national strike on 3 October 2012, and a second one -- demanding a 50% increase of the minimum wage -- on October 31 and November 1, 2013. These were not truly general strikes, but they nevertheless were joined by many hundreds of thousands of workers, especially in the Jakarta region.
Insert T_CxShareButtonsHorizontal.html here