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Words in the News
Friday 31 January 2003
Chinese migrants head home for New Year
Chinese migrants 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.
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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.

Francis Markus, BBC
Listen Listen to the words
migrant workers
people who travel to find work
city dwellers
people who live in the city
country cousins
a humorous expression for people from the countryside
domestic workers
cleaners, servants and so on, who work in people’s homes
domestic help
domestic workers
all the people who work in a place
fork out
if you fork out for something, you pay for it
holiday cover
extra workers to take the place of those on holiday
service industries
people in service industries serve the public, they don’t produce a product; for example:- shop workers, taxi drivers.
fixed periods of time at work
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