While the whole world shops, who cares about those who deliver?
November is a global shopping carnival. The “Double 11” Shopping Festival in China is followed by the “Black Friday” shopping week towards the end of November. Despite the thrills and joys of shoppers and merchants, the issues of exploitation of delivery people are often overlooked. While freelancing in goods and food delivery is getting prevalent, there is an undertone of labour exploitation in the name of freedom and flexibility. Under an ambivalent Employer-employee relationship, courier workers all over the world are under risks like unstable income and lack of protection.
Workers in China under COVID-19
The global Covid-19 pandemic has already disrupted the global economy and production order, while in China, where the pandemic first broke out, is not immune to such disruption. The unemployment rate in large cities announced by the government has risen by more than 15% since November 2019, until dropping to 5.7% in August this year. In April, China recorded a real GDP growth rate of only 3.2%, the slowest growth since 1992.
Unemployment in China may hit 70 million Workers in electronics industry face massive layoffs
Since February, various parts of China has resumed work and production when the COVID-19 pandemic was reportedly under control. However, due to the serious epidemic in Europe and the United States, orders from abroad have been greatly reduced, which takes another dent into the Chinese economy. Many factories face closures, while workers are furloughed and dismissed. Foxconn and Shanghai Pegatron, the two largest OEMs of Apple's mobile phones in China, have laid off employees due to a major business decline.
The Bubble Revolution in Chinese Football: Lives at the Bottom of the League
In November 2019, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao regained the Chinese Super Football League (hereinafter: CSL) and won the title 8 times in 9 years. It is estimated that each player in the team would receive a bonus of approximately RMB 1.5 million to 2 million. However, at the other end of the professional football hierarchy, players from Hunan Billows F.C., who are playing in the third and lowest tier professional football league, China League Two (hereinafter: League Two), were forced to take to the streets to defend their labour rights as they had not been paid for more than one year. Despite being professional footballer, the disparity in the treatment of players in different Chinese leagues is staggering.
Mission to Cambodia-a Country Fully Integrated by China
Due to geopolitical reasons, China has a very large influence on Cambodia historically. As China's economic might continue to strengthen, China's economic impact on Cambodia is also increasing. In recent years, the Chinese government has always stressed that Chinese investment is beneficial to local development in her official propaganda; however, the actual situation seen during our visit to Cambodia with the ITUC was quite different.
Persistence under the Political Winter: Xiangzi and Heart Sanitation
The founder of “Heart Sanitation”, Chen Weixiang (better known as Xiangzi), and two staff members were arrested by the Guangzhou Police on December 17, 2019. Friends of Xiang Zi released news on December 23 stating that they had been subjected to fifteenth days of "administrative detention" on charges of " Picking quarrels and provoking trouble." After the administrative detention period expired, Xiangzi was released on January 2, 2020.
YTO Employees' Action: a glimpse into China's fast-growing, yet sweatshop-like delivery service sector
Employees of logistics giant YTO Express have staged multiple protests in cities across China after the company announced its “reorganisation” of its high-end business service OTP Express in early October. Since 12 October, 7 collective actions broke out in cities such as Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai. The largest-scale protest took place in Shanghai, hundreds of employees staged a sit-in on the staircase in front of YTO's headquarters, demanding the company to compensate its newly dismissed employees.