Chinese labor unrest extended its footprint last year as workforce tensions that have long beset the manufacturing and construction industries began to hit the fast-growing sectors on which Beijing has pinned its hopes for future growth. While the 2,663 strikes and protests recorded in 2016 by China Labour Bulletin marked a fall of 112 on the previous year, the total was still almost double that of 2014, with the spread to new sectors partly offsetting a drop in manufacturing unrest. According to the Financial Times, China’s labor supply is tightening as fewer young hands join the migrant workforce on which manufacturing and construction have long relied – driving up wages, prompting salary arrears and threatening older workers’ social insurance payments when employers close shop or move without warning.
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