CHINA> Regional
2nd largest province feels pinch of global meltdown
Updated: 2008-11-23 17:38

JINAN  -- Shandong Province, China's leaeding economic powerhouse on the east seaboard, announced Sunday both its numbers of enterprise employees and of those actually employed were on the wane.

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A source from the Shandong Provincial Federation of Trade Unions said employees with enterprises and institutions in urban areas totaled 9.14 million by late September, a year-on-year decrease of 38,000 workers.

Of this total, only 8.87 million workers were employed, down by 29,000 from the same period last year.

Shandong is the second largest economic province in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in China, just after Guangdong.

"The economic slowdown caused by the global financial meltdown has other negative impact on legitimate rights of workers," said a spokesman of the provincial federation of trade unions, citing slower salary increasing rate and growing number of labor disputes.

The average salary per worker in the last three quarters of the year was 18,378 yuan (about 2,703 US dollars), a rise of 18 percent year on year but a drop of 0.7 percentage points in comparison with the increase of last year.

And the average salary for the employed workers during the same period was 18,521 yuan, up 18.2 percent and also a fall in the increase of 0.7 percentage points.

Qingdao, a well-known seaside resort in the province, for instance, has dealt with 7,897 cases of labor disputes since the beginning of the year, up 141.6 percent from last year. A half of these disputed cases were about labor reward and another 30 percent involved social insurance and welfare.