Migrant workers have been protesting at their treatment in China's big cities. Now trains, planes and buses are full, as hundreds of millions of workers travel home for the New Year. How will the cities survive without them? This report from Francis Markus.
The last few days have seen a series of protests actually around the country by migrants who've complained that they haven't been properly paid.
The departure of the migrant workers for the holiday season has also shown up how dependent the city dwellers now are on these country cousins of theirs. Many of the domestic workers looking after Shanghai's elderly population, for instance, are from out of town and one man running an agency supplying such domestic help, told the BBC that half his workforce was taking a break and families were having to fork out an extra forty per cent for holiday cover.
For large numbers of people in the service industries, though, it's going to be work as usual during the new year holidays. Many of the city's taxi drivers who are lining up to pick up passengers at places like this are going to continue to work there fifteen or sixteen hour shifts on a one day on/one day off basis.