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Wage rises appease workers

Published on Friday, 11 Jun 2010
Germany’s players train in Pretoria for the World Cup.
Australian women employees feel undervalued.
Photo: AP

The days of endless cheap labour in the "workshop of the world" could be numbered as a shortage of workers and government fears of social unrest drive up wages on the mainland, experts say.

A spate of suicides at Taiwanese hi-tech firm Foxconn and an unprecedented strike at Honda's auto parts factory suggest that employers can no longer take their workforces for granted after decades of rapid growth.

Beijing has reacted to the labour unrest by launching a round of minimum wage hikes across the nation, reflecting concern among top leaders that frustrated workers could trigger wider social turmoil.

Under President Hu Jintao, "the direction of policy has been towards greater concern about income distribution, with less emphasis on growth at all costs", says Tsinghua University economist Patrick Chovanec.

Nearly a quarter of Chinese employees have not had a pay rise in five years, according to the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Foxconn has given staff a 70 per cent pay rise after 11 suicides among its workforce. Honda also offered a 24 per cent rise to end a crippling strike. AFP


World Cup fever tolerated

The majority of employers in Germany will tolerate staff who get "distracted" from work during the World Cup, Sina.com reports.

A survey by the University of Hohenheim, which canvassed 1,664 people in Germany, has found that more than 50 per cent of respondents will spend 15 minutes of their time at work trying to get hold of the latest information about the games.

Employers seem to be understanding towards this distraction - only 7.1 per cent of bosses will punish such employees. But more than 90 per cent of employees surveyed say that they will not be more motivated at work as a result of their bosses' leniency. 


Battle of the sexes 

Most women working in the Australian finance sector feel overlooked, underpaid and under-represented at executive levels, but more than half of their male colleagues disagree, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The research, conducted by sector group Finsia, suggests women have got a tough fight ahead in bridging the pay gap, as most men reckon it does not exist.

According to the survey, 85 per cent of women agreed that there was a gender divide in financial services, as opposed to only 26 per cent of men. Fifty-eight per cent of men denied there was any discrepancy.

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