Samantha Vortherms, a China expert [and assistant professor of political science] at the University of California, Irvine, notes that in factories across the world’s second-biggest economy local staff are considered the “core employee base”. China’s 380mn itinerant migrant workers are “periphery”, she says, which means they are the first to be laid off when companies are hit by downturns, a problem exacerbated by unequal access to social security provisions. “Migrant workers are much less likely to have formal labour contracts that allow them to pay into social insurance schemes that protect them if unemployed,” she says.
Covid in China: Xi’s fraying relationship with the middle class
Financial Times, June 26, 2022
June 26, 2022