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Factories struggle to attract workers
Latest Updated by 2007-02-27 09:51:03
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Factory owners in the Guangdong capital are reeling from a severe shortfall of migrant workers.

Even the offer of higher pay doesn't seem to be enough for many workers who are being lured to other provinces for better money.

Zhang Jungang, the owner of a garment factory downtown Guangzhou, has been desperately looking for workers in the past couple of days.

"I've posted recruitment information around my factory and I've even tried to look for workers at the railway stations and bus stations where many new arrivals gather ," he told China Daily.

"So far, I've recruited only three workers, far from enough for the normal operation of my factory."

Zhang had 29 workers last year, 21 of whom decided to look for jobs elsewhere after Spring Festival and another five had not yet returned to work after the holiday was over on Sunday.

"I've promised to raise their monthly salaries by about 15 per cent to around 1,200 yuan ($153) from this year on and I need no more than skilled sewers," he said. "How I wish my workers would be back soon and introduce more workers to me; otherwise, I'll have to recruit apprentices."

Zhang isn't the only case. Many enterprises in Guangdong, especially those in the Pearl River Delta, have been feeling the pinch of the shortfall of migrant workers.

"It's very likely that the problem will worsen this year," Liang Jiamin, an official with Guangdong Provincial Labor and Social Security Department, said.

Citing a recent survey by the provincial department, the official said the province will have to fill about 3 million vacancies this year, compared to more than 2.67 million in 2006.

The Pearl River Delta cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan are all estimated to be in need of more than 300,000 workers this year each. The industries most seriously affected include manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and catering.

"For one reason, the sustained economic development and the prospering processing industry in Guangdong have been intensifying the demand," Liang said.

"For another, enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta and in other places have become more generous to workers, attracting those who have worked in Guangdong away."

The official said that the provincial labor and social security department had urged the labor and social security authorities at different levels across the province to hold more job fairs and to offer job introduction services free of charge.

And enterprises have also been urged to improve the welfare and living conditions for their workers by abiding by the minimum wage policy, introduced in 2006, by offering better education opportunities for workers' children and better health care.

Editor: Yan

By: Zhan Lisheng Source: China Daily Website
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