Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Taxi drivers end strike in eastern Chinese city [AsiaOne/Reuters]

The democratisation of China or a reminder that the Chinese have never been happy to accept unjust conditions for too long. One only has to look back at the rise and topple of a multitude of dynasties over hundreds of emperors. Recent actions such as the Honda China strike revealed deep labour discontent at low wages amidst rising living costs. And they seem to be winning. Foxconn has been made to raise wages by up to 66-70% (depending on who you read) which is indicative of a notable shift of power back to the people. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to research at the Transition Institute, there have been 60 taxi strikes in Chinese cities in recent years.

For local coverage, check out China Daily – Striking cab drivers back to work in Hangzhou, August 5, 2011

– – –

Taxi drivers end strike in eastern Chinese city
Source – AsiaOne, published August 4, 2011

Photo: Reuters

SHANGHAI – Taxi drivers in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou have returned to work after three days of protests demanding higher wages, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

A series of similar protests by taxi drivers have hit other cities across the nation, highlighting mounting frustration among migrant workers who make up a growing share of the country’s workforce.

The drivers in Hangzhou, who have gathered at several points throughout the picturesque city for the past three days, had begun taking passengers on Thursday morning after the government pledged to hold a public hearing and adjust fares, Xinhua reported.

“Now that the government has pledged to adjust fares, we have decided to resume work. We hope the new polices can be carried out as soon as possible to relieve our burden for living,” a taxi driver surnamed Chen, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

About 1,500 disgruntled taxi drivers in Hangzhou started the strike at rush hour on Monday morning, according to state media.

By Tuesday evening, cabs had all but deserted the city centre.

In response to the strike, Hangzhou’s city government pledged to hike cab fares by the end of October and provide cab drivers temporary subsidies, which many drivers had dismissed it as too little and too late.

“Traffic authorities have looked into adjusting cab fares for months, listening to the opinions of many cab drivers and their employers. We are now preparing to hold a public hearing on that,” Wang Yichuan, deputy director of the Hangzhou Municipal Traffic Bureau told Xinhua.

Taxi drivers in Hangzhou said they make about 500 yuan a day ($77), but pay out nearly 80 percent of that in fuel and vehicle rental fees.

China’s consumer price index hit a three-year peak of 6.4 percent in June, with leaders in Beijing saying that fighting inflation was their policy priority.

The country’s 150 million or so rural migrant workers have gained better wages and treatment in recent years, but the gap between them and established urban residents remains wide, fuelling anger about discrimination and ill-treatment.


Filed under: AsiaOne, Automotive, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Honda Strike in Foshan 2010, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Politics, Population, Reform, Reuters, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport

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