Chi­nese are most in­dus­tri­ous and over­worked: poll

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By YANG YAO yangyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China may be the most in­dus­tri­ous na­tion in the world, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Ger­man sur­vey, but a Chi­nese la­bor ex­pert said lax la­bor rights have cre­ated a cul­ture of over­worked em­ploy­ees who do not take va­ca­tions.

Mon­ster World­wide, which runs one of the world’s largest em­ploy­ment web­sites of the same name, and GfK, the largest global mar­ket re­search in­sti­tute in Ger­many, re­leased a sur­vey on Tues­day that asked work­ers from eight na­tions to rate global “in­dus­tri­ous­ness”.

About 8,000 par­tic­i­pants in Canada, France, Ger­many, In­dia, the Nether­lands, the United King­dom and the United States were asked which coun­try cre­ates the best ideas or prod­ucts, how hard-work­ing is a given coun­try’s la­bor force and where in the world is most com­pet­i­tive. The sur­vey did not poll work­ers in China.

China topped the rank­ing, fol­lowed by Ger­many and the US. French work­ers were con­sid­ered the lazi­est in the world, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

US re­spon­dents ranked China sec­ond to their own coun­try in in­dus­tri­ous­ness.

“Hard­work­ing and in­dus­tri­ous­ness has been part of the na­tional spirit,” said Zhou Haibin, an of­fi­cer with the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s China and Mon­go­lia Of­fice. The ILO is a United Na­tions agency.

“China is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a boom in its econ­omy, while the other na­tions are now in fi­nan­cial crises,” he said. “A lot of in­dus­tries and trans­ac­tions are shift­ing to China, that’s why Chi­nese em­ploy­ees are busier than em­ploy­ees in other na­tions.”

“But one fac­tor that should not be ne­glected is the lack of la­bor rights in China,” he added.

Em­ploy­ees in China work an av­er­age of 8.66 hours and spend 0.96 hours in tran­sit each work­day, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey jointly con­ducted in 2012 by Pek­ing Univer­sity and Zhaopin.com, a Chi­nese hu­man re­sources com­pany. The sur­vey cov­ered more than 30,000 re­spon­dents in 28 cities.

Un­der Chi­nese la­bor laws and the ILO’s global ad­vo­cacy, em­ploy­ees should work

A lot of in­dus­tries and trans­ac­tions are shift­ing to China, that’s why Chi­nese em­ploy­ees are busier than em­ploy­ees in other na­tions.” ZHOU HAIBIN OF­FI­CER WITH THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL LABOUR OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION’S CHINA AND MON­GO­LIA OF­FICE

no more than 40 hours a week.

Ger­mans work an av­er­age of about 33.5 hours a week, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Ger­man news­pa­per Han­dels­blatt Busi­ness Daily.

Zhou said Chi­nese work­ers are un­able to “safe­guard their rights for le­git­i­mate work­ing hours and an­nual paid leaves”.

He said not all Chi­nese em­ploy­ers pay for over­time. On rare oc­ca­sions, an em­ployer will al­low an em­ployee to take the day off if he or she had worked eight hours of over­time.

An em­ployee who works at a lead­ing global con­sul­tant firm in Shang­hai, iden­ti­fied only as Xu, works 12 to 13 hours a day. He said he is never paid for over­time but con­sid­ers his high monthly salary a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the long hours.

Xu said em­ploy­ees at the firm’s Chi­nese of­fice work the long­est com­pared with their Euro­pean, Aus­tralian and US coun­ter­parts. “Maybe that’s be­cause all the busi­ness is cen­tered here,” he said.

Un­der a reg­u­la­tion en­dorsed by the State Coun­cil in 2008, work­ers can en­joy five days of paid leave a year af­ter work­ing 12 months. Peo­ple who have worked more than 10 years can have 10 days of paid leave and work­ers who have worked 20 years or longer get 15 days.

But few em­ploy­ees in China take their an­nual va­ca­tion. To get more Chi­nese to go on va­ca­tions and boost the tourism in­dus­try, the Chi­nese tourism au­thor­ity is­sued a guide­line in Fe­bru­ary to pro­vide more le­gal sup­port to pro­tect work­ers’ rights to a va­ca­tion. The aim of the guide­line is that by 2020, all em­ploy­ees in China will be en­ti­tled to paid an­nual leaves.

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