Chinese workers have reached a turning point. They are beginning to resist unreasonable working conditions. Younger workers are aware of the "meaningless", unsafe, and unhealthy nature of tech assembly jobs at mega manufacturers like Foxconn.
Expect the trend of improving labor rights, better working conditions, and increased wages to continue at steady pace for the foreseeable future. Increased international consumer focus on corporate Social Responsibility, is changing customer expectations for all products. A relatively small customer segment, passionate about corporate social responsibility, will drive better behaviors by global manufacturers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent visit to Foxconn is evidence that the free ride for inhumane working conditions in China is over. This will be the topic of much discussion in Fortune 500 board rooms in the year ahead.
China will likely remain a manufacturing powerhouse, but the marginal economic advantage will diminish. We will see a healthy churn of product sourcing changes in the decade ahead, as companies rebalance the Total Supply Chain Cost. The solution will not always be, "Move This Plant To China".
Fair pay and good working conditions --what a novel concept.
The arc of justice and progress always leans forward.