Inequality for Rural to Urban Migrants

7 Mar

This table shows the difference in average wage for urban natives and rural migrants to the cities. Whilst the difference in monthly earnings is only around 480, putting the rural migrants at a disadvantage of around 25%, the hourly wage tells the real story. Rural migrants appear to earn around half that of urban natives per hour. This tells us that a rural migrant will work longer hours than the urban native and be paid less for the privilege.
Despite the more recent legislative push towards equal rights for all workers, it seems that the feeling of being a ‘second-class citizen’ has remained for the rural migrant workers, and that wages have remained low. This is most likely due to the only very recent change in the law regarding rural to urban migrants and their treatment in he workplace. By the late 1990s, several city governments had put regulations in place to restrict rural migrants’ employment and forced enterprises to lay off migrant workers in favour of urban local workers. Other administrative regulations included a restricted access to certain job positions to urban residents only, or the imposition of fees to migrant workers and their employers (Knight et al., 1999; Appleton et al., 2004, Knight and Yueh, 2004a,b; Zhao, 2005).
This history of maltreatment is still fresh in the memory and psyche of the rural to urban migrant, and their employer, making the recent policy changes in favour of equal rights slow to take full effect.



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