--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

Migrants' Leave Causes Headache in Cities
For 11 months of the year, the millions of migrants in Shanghai are often looked down upon by some locals as peasants and blamed for many of the city's crime. Then Spring Festival arrives, the migrants head home, and locals realize just how important those "peasants" really are.

With an army of migrant workers once again cramming onto busses and trains back to their hometowns, many local residents have suddenly found themselves with no one to help them clean the house, cook dinner or take care of the baby.

It is estimated that there are more than 3 million migrant workers in Shanghai, mostly taking jobs that local residents don't want, such as construction workers, restaurant employees, couriers or house-keepers (or ayi, as they are called in Chinese).

"More than 20 families call us every day since last week looking for housekeepers, as many migrants have left for the festival so some families are looking for a temporary ayi for the holiday," said an employee of Shanghai Baibang Service Center. In order to find an ayi, they promise extra pay and a red envelope (filled with cash) for the festival."

But most of the migrant workers would rather head home to be with their families than stay in town to earn a few extra yuan.

"I have worked in Shanghai for an entire year. Spring Festival is the only opportunity for me to reunite with my husband and son in my home-town, I won't stay here for more money," said Xia Meili, a 30-year-old woman from Jiangsu Province.

Xia Jun, manager of Shanghai Jialilai Home Service Co., said some families even promised to pay triple the usual wage for an ayi during the holiday.

Part of the problem is that few locals are willing to work as an ayi, because they don't consider it a decent job and it generally pays only 500 to 600 yuan a month plus accommodations.

The ayi exodus is proving inconvenient to many in the city.

"I had planned to visit my relatives in Guangzhou during the holiday, but with my ayi leaving, I have to stay here to take care of the housework and my granddaughter," said Huang Huangying, a 60-year-old retired teacher.

Delivery companies are also struggling with the holiday as most of their workers are heading home.

Dong Minghua, the owner of Shixun Express Delivery Co., said Spring Festival is the toughest time for him.

"As the employer, I am the only person staying in the office to receive phone calls and I will deliver goods by myself during the holiday, because all of my staff will leave."

Dong said he has had to turn down some business or tell customers their goods will be delayed due to the staff shortage.

Streetside food stalls, bicycle repair shops and water delivery companies will also be shut down, or short- staffed during the holiday.

Shanghai Red Hat House Cleaning Co. says it won't have any workers available during the holiday, no matter how much people offer to pay.

(eastday.com January 28, 2003)

State Council Issues Degree to Protect Migrant Workers
China to Strenghthen Migrate Workers Payment Conditions
Migrant Worker Tells His Life as a Courier in Beijing
Shanghai Improves Education for Migrant Children
Justice, Equality Demanded for Intinerant Laborers
Passenger Flow Picks Up After Chinese New Year Holiday
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688