Today is May Day, in many countries it’s the celebration of the International Workers Day, mostly promoted by labour unions, social democratic parties and used by the working class to demonstrate and demand better working conditions. Nowadays more considered as an extra bank holiday to the working calendar!
This day reminds me to the conversations my parents used to have with me, and telling me how hard it was to live as an immigrant, as if I wasn’t part of this story. Almost 50 years ago they emigrated to Germany putting all their hopes and dreams in a better life, getting a good job opportunity. I can say now that half of my blood running through my veins is German. My mum keeps remembering these years with nostalgia, it was hard times she says, but different from today’s emigration. The working conditions were in some ways better, easier to get a job, employers happier and work was my parents only leitmotiv.
But I think that today’s work conditions and people moving from their home country are similar then the once from my parents…even sometimes worse, specially for non qualified workers!
I live in China, social and culture differences between chinese work force and western workers are evident. In my city, Shenzhen, there are two types of foreign workers; the first one is chinese labour that comes from other parts of China, which is a migrant worker working for low salary, non qualified and repetitious tasks. The second one is a western worker that comes from western countries for a qualified working place and most important with an expat working package.
Everybody wants to enjoy the advantages of a countries economic growth, but unfortunately a bigger range of population has seen his working and living conditions getting worse.
Its tremendously sad to read that once upon a time labour was cheap, the average salary of a factory employee nowadays is 250 $ per month, and it is considered even in comparatively expensive. I want to know who fixes this price, workers value, I believe that’s everybody’s fault…we drawn down people’s dignity to get a pair of new shoes.
Everything about China is big and moving fast, growing day by day, this accelerated growth changes considerably its countries landscape. That’s an issue that Ian Teh is concerned about, he is a chinese photographer that has captured some of this changes with his camera lent.
Also, recently I found a photo-documentary work “Long Road Home” about migrant domestic workers from Indonesia, it’s a photo story from Sim Chi Yin. There are also known as housekeepers, it’s a huge invisible working force in Asia and South America.