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What blue-collars deserve is more than wage

China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 08:04
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A worker works at the practical skills training center at a vocational school in China. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

The income of interior decorators has reportedly overtaken that of many white-collar workers and many house owners are complaining how expensive it has become to decorate their homes.

This is a common phenomenon in developed countries where there is insufficient supply of human resources. Earlier surveys show that the average age of bricklayers is over 45.

The rising wages in blue-collar jobs reflect the increasingly tense labor supply and demand relationship, which is expected to boost vocational education. High incomes help blue-collar workers gain their overdue respect, so that more young people can be attracted to relevant posts.

Notably, blue-collar workers are the major forces in the labor market in most countries. They not only make indelible contributions to the development and progress of society, but also the living standards and income of those doing such jobs are important factors affecting social equity and stability.

According to the seventh national census, in 2020 the population aged 15-64 years in China was 968 million, among which about 400 million were blue-collar workers.

The income growth of blue-collar workers provides a solid foundation for the overall improvement of social income. As long as the income of these blue-collar industries can be guaranteed, they can attract more laborers and can help boost the employment rate as a whole. That will also inject more vitality into social consumption.

However, it must be seen that those blue-collar workers still suffer from a comparatively poor protection of their legal rights and interests. For example, wage arrears, poor working conditions, long working hours and frequent but unattended work-related injuries remain the concerns of many of them. To resolve these problems entails systemic efforts of the whole society, particularly the lawmakers and governments.

Migrant workers constitute a major body of the blue-collar workforce. It is pity that they still cannot enjoy equal welfare as local residents of the cities where they work and live. Payment for their labor is only one part of what they deserve, which should also include equal access to basic public services and public goods of a city where they pay tax and sell their labor.

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