Occupational diseases and migrant workers compensation claiming in China: An unheeded social risk in asymmetrical employment relationships

Li Sun, Tao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As a result of rapid industrialisation in China, rural-urban migrant workers are increasingly susceptible to occupational diseases. Based on the concept of risk society, the occupational disease represents a distinctive industrial risk for migrant workers. However, this issue has been little explored from a sociological perspective, and this article aims to fill this gap by exploring migrant workers responses to occupational disease compensation. Despite the various laws on occupational diseases, migrant workers are generally unable to receive legal compensation. Instead, they have to negotiate with employers informally for private compensation. In addition to suffering physically from occupational diseases, the poor enforcement of public laws creates new social risks for workers, that is, the disadvantaged encounter unjust treatment, judicial injustice and social exclusion because their de jure entitlement is deprived. As a consequence, the laws aimed at protecting workers against accidents and occupational illnesses fail to reduce the power imbalance between employers and employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-136
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • China
  • Migrant workers
  • occupational diseases
  • risk society
  • social protection

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