Measures announced for city's labor force

Highly skilled industrial workers in Shanghai will now be promoted as engineers under a new set of labor measures announced by the city government. 

It’s getting harder for factories to retain young workers with low salaries and dim career opportunities, but the city is working to turn things around.

Highly skilled workers in the manufacturing sector will now be promoted as engineers, as per a new batch of measures announced by the city government yesterday.

Despite different skill levels, there wasn't much difference in salaries for workers, which was a “significant cause of frustration among workers,” the Shanghai Labor Union said in a report yesterday.

The report said the salary of a top-level worker was not much different than a mid-level engineer in the same company.

Li Bin, a 53-year-old engineer at Shanghai Electric Hydraulics and Pneumatics Co who has won top science and technology awards for his innovations, said he expects the new measures to foster growth of accomplished workers.

“Workers today are much more sensitive about salaries than in the old days, and not just that, they are also looking for some dignity and career prospects," he said.

Li, who started out as a worker, was among the very few who was promoted as an engineer. While engineers have university diplomas, workers usually start out without higher education.

“Workers need incentives to develop their skills, increase their education levels and innovate,” he said.

Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau will roll out a set of rules for promotion for workers later this year.

The bureau said it will also publish the salary benchmarks for skilled jobs for employers to determine the salary levels of their workers.

The government also wants more top-class international vocational training companies in Shanghai. The first such company will come up in Pudong New Area.

The government has also vowed to provide more affordable housing schemes for workers, improve commuting services to industrial parks located far away from Metro stations and ensure that all workers’ labor rights are fulfilled.

The measures cover all industrial workers, and also those in farming, forestry, construction, public utilities, transportation, communications and information technology industries.

By the end of 2016, there were about 5.5 million industrial workers in Shanghai. Among them about 3 million were from out of town. There were about 3.4 million industrial workers, according to the city’s statistics bureau.

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