Competing with China; the hidden cost of a low wage economy.

We hear a lot about the need for Britain to be more competitive and especially how we should compete with the emerging Asian markets of China and India. In terms of cost and competition, China can produce more for significantly less cost; average wage in Shanghai province is approximately £4,600 per year compared to £26000 over the whole of the UKand a lower rate of between £17,000 and £21,000 in the North West and North Wales.  

 However one statistic is worth looking at carefully. According to the China Labour bulletin, the official workplace death rate in China is 21 times that in the UK.

When you hear about how we can’t compete with developing countries like China because of their low labour costs you need to remember that you are 21 times more likely not to return home from work to your family in China than you are in the UK.

According to the China Labour bulletin the authorities who are responsible for enforcing health and safety law in China do not enforce the regulations for fear of driving industry away from their region and into another region of China. These are problems that in the UK led to the formation of the Factory Inspectorate as long ago as 1833.

Legal representation can be harder to get in China, as well. In a 2000 report by Stephen P. Magee from the University of Texas, the UK had 1.75 lawyers per 1000 heads of population while China had only 0.9. In the event of a workplace accident, getting hold of good legal representation is a definite need.

Clearly, while China may have many things going for its industry, we should be careful about following the Chinese model too closely. 

If you have had a workplace accident in Merseyside, Manchester, Cheshire or the North West or North Wales and would like a personal lawyer to represent you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I guarantee no win-no fee, 100% compensation to you with no fees taken out and visits at a time and place to suit your lifestyle. My contact details are just above, or visit my home page at Peter Kneale Solicitor.


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