Introduction

This report is intended to give a summary of the research on the exploitation against male workers in Shanghai from 1935 to 1936 in textile industry. This report will discuss several problems from 1935 to 1936 in respect to the following subject: Exploitation from Labor Union Problems, Exploitation from Wage Problems, Overtime Working Problems and Labor Strike Problems. This report will first discuss the background of the exploitation of the workers in textile industry.

Background

In the age of the republics, textile industry is the major part of the industry in China although the whole country is in wars. According to China Labor Problem, At the time, although the country suffered in wars and smokes while the business of cotton industry worldwide is distressing, the textile industry in China is bucking the trend[1]. It is reported in Labor Economy that in Republic 22, the amount of spindles raises to 2,637,413 from 2,383,474 in Republic 20 while 7 more cotton mills are built in two years.[2]Compared to Republic 21, In Republic 22, textile industry has gain 172,109 spindles, 22,522 more twiner and 1,252 more Denim.[3] All the data showed that the textile industry have an abnormal trend compared to other places.

However, this leads to the problem of probably exploitation of workers in the industry, especially when it is also the time of Second Sino-Japanese War at the time, which started in 1937[4]. Also, in a bigger image, according to Resources of Legitimacy and Chinese Workers’ Activism, Since the end of the 1937(from October to December), the Chinese workers are starting to be aggressive and active which is the direct cause of the Shanghai Workers’ Strike(上海工潮) in 1937. Exploitation can also be a major point that cause labor workers, especially male workers, to strike[5].

All of these question leads a possible exploitation on male worker in Textile industry, however, further investigation is needed to give a larger image in the year of 1936.

Labor Union

The labor union is one of the problem that caused exploitation. Since Republic 12, when the first official Labor Union, Shanghai Federation of Labor Union(上海工團聯合會), The members initially aimed to improve the life conditions as well as treatments to labor by changing constitution. However, after May Thirtieth Movement(五卅運動), People are more belligerent and quit labor unions[6].

Since the Age of Dec 8th(一二八時代), Chinese cotton mills are monopolized by Japan enterprises, which leads to the layoffs in local-opened cotton mills under the situation of the depressed market and lack of resource. This situation further leads to the resistance of the Labor Union. Meanwhile, Japan-based cotton mills push harsher policies, this include over-working, wage cut-down, more penalty and no leisure activities. This leads to common clashes in the early 1936. The clash in Da Kang Spinner(大康紗場) indirectly leads to the one of the main labor strikes started and sponsored by several groups including two labor union called Fu Li Hui(福利會) which belongs to Shanghai Federation of Labor Union, and Zhong Yi Hui(忠義會) which belongs to Bureau of Social Affairs(社會局).

Nonetheless, since the exploitation is pressed on workers, especially the male workers who start the strike, the Main Labor Union of Cotton Textile Industry cannot be established until the first large labor strike, even though most of the workers are even not the member of the union. Furthermore, this leads to the ending of the Main Labor Union of Cotton Textile Industry as most of the male workers are fired and replaced by female and child workers.[7]

On contrary, the workers in silk industry shows strong ambition Since 1934, as the Main Labor Union of Silk Industry first established in 1934 with the huge labor strike, which cause the high pressure in the industry in the next 2 years without labor union, until the cotton textile industry workers’ strike. The Main Labor Union of Silk Industry is established again in the middle of 1936, which start another huge strike in 1937.[8]

The labor unions are the one key to stop exploitation of the workers, however, with what I find, it can be clearly shown that the workers, especially male workers, are exploited by factories by starting the unofficial labor union.

Wage

Wage is also one angle that showed the exploitation of the male workers in textile industry in 1936. According to a research in 1937, in textile industry, the male workers have generally a lower wage. The average maximum wage of male worker (except for the head) in Japan-based cotton mills is exactly 0.48 Yuan while female workers enjoys 0.77 Yuan of maximum wage, which is almost double. The average minimum wage of male worker (except for the head) is 0.77 Yuan. Let us look at an example of Tong Xing Cotton Mill(同興紗廠). The detail[9] of their wage can be shown in the partially retrieved table below:

Section Job Title Max Wage Min Wage
Shi fang bu(始紡部) Male Worker 0.48 Yuan 0.40 Yuan
Shi fang bu(始紡部) Female Worker 0.70 Yuan 0.50 Yuan
Chu fang bu(粗紡部) Male Worker 0.48 Yuan 0.40 Yuan
Chu fang bu(粗紡部) Female Worker 0.70 Yuan 0.50 Yuan
Jing fang bu(精紡部) Male Worker 0.51 Yuan 0.40 Yuan
Jing fang bu(精紡部) Head of Male Worker 0.82 Yuan
Jing fang bu(精紡部) Jie tou Female Worker(接頭女工) 0.78 Yuan 0.50 Yuan
Jing fang bu(精紡部) Luo sha Female Worker(落紗女工) 0.80 Yuan 0.75 Yuan
Jing fang bu(精紡部) Yao che tou(搖車頭) 0.95 Yuan 0.90 Yuan
Yao sha bu(搖紗部) Male Worker 0.48 Yuan 0.40 Yuan
Yao sha bu(搖紗部) Female Worker 0.70 Yuan 0.50 Yuan

It can be clearly shown that male have a lower wage compare to the female workers.

Although England-based cotton mills have an average higher wage compared to Japan-based mills, a difference in wage of male and female can be still clearly shown. Take the largest mill among all England-based mills, Yi He Cotton Mill(怡和紗廠)[10] as an example:

Section Workshop Worker Gender Daily Max Wage Daily Min Wage Daily Head Wage
Roving Section Gang si che(鋼絲車) Old Female 0.6 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Gang si che(鋼絲車) Old Male 0.5 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Gang si che(鋼絲車) New Female 0.6 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Gang si che(鋼絲車) New Male 0.5 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Tiao zi che(條子車) Old Female 0.60 Yuan 0.42 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Tiao zi che(條子車) Old Male 0.85 Yuan 0.65 Yuan
Roving Section Tiao zi che(條子車) New Female 0.60 Yuan 0.42 Yuan 0.9 Yuan
Roving Section Tiao zi che(條子車) New Male 0.85 Yuan 0.65 Yuan

It also shows the same trend as Tong Xin Cotton Mill. This clearly indicated the fact of mistreatment to the male, probably due to the aggressiveness and independence that shown from the characteristics from the male workers, which is hard to made them to be obedient, comparing to male workers, the female workers are more obedient, which, in consequence, they are stable and more ‘trustable’ that they receive a relatively higher wage compare to the female workers.[11]

Hence, male workers are also exploited in the area of the wage.

Overtime Working

It also shows the problem of the exploitation of workers, but it is not that obvious compared to other factors. There are generally three types of the workers in the textile industry: full-time workers(日夜工), all-day workers(長日工), and all-night workers(長夜工)[12].

Full-time workers are most exploited on over-time working. Comparing with Europe and America, China Industries, especially textile industry, have longer work time, which is 12 hours per day, while in the west, the work time is usually 8 hours per day. Over-time working is common among the workers that time, especially during labor strike (which will discuss in the next section), the workers have to work over-time (mostly male workers). This is because they hope to prevent the worker to think about strike back.[13] Other two kind, all-day workers(長日工) and all-night workers(長夜工), are not usually the target of over-working, since only a few factories have the job. This includes Yi He Cotton Mill(怡和紗廠) and several other smaller factories. Full-day workers may have to work up to 7 more hours per day when over-working, according to the resource. However, as the information they gathered is not fully complete, the little information can be provided. However, the overall image showed the exploitation of the male worker although it is not very strong.

Labor Strike

The problem of labor strike is pretty common since 1936 is the beginning of the Shanghai Worker’s Strike[14]. Since the early years, warlord is pretty common around China, which cause the pressure on workers at the time, with the exploitation of male workers, the feeling of anger began to spread around the city. This directly leads to labor strikes in 1920s and 1930s.[15] In the major labor strike in 1930s, such as the huge labor strikes of silk industry in 1934 and largest labor strike in Shanghai started by Japan-based cotton mills in 1936[16].

The labor strikes are usually not well organized, since there is bad communication between labors in different factories. This leads to a direct failure of the two strike. [17]

Besides these two main strikes, the major reason for labor strike in 1936 is the Case of Da Kang Spinner. In February 6th, 1936, 8000 workers, mainly male workers, start the labor strike since they are angry that the factory leads killed one of their colleague Mei Shijun(梅世鈞), which caused the punishment to the workers who joined labor strike.7 day later, another spinner Xi He(喜和紗廠) had a labor strike since worker are not satisfied with the layoff.[18] These cases are common in the early 1936, which are still not effective. With the recovery of the silk and cotton business, it finally leads to the huge strike of Shanghai textile workers in Japan-based factories in the late 1936. It even inspired the textile workers in Tsing Tao(青島) to strike. In Shanghai, totally of 11,974 textile workers from 220 factories joined this strike. This showed how actually the tension is to the workers that time. According to the records, about 80 percent of the people are male.[19] All these problems showed that the male are usually the one who stand up. Usually, factory do not like this kind of people such that they are the one being exploited.

Overall, the exploitation of male worker does exist in the perspective of labor strike.

Conclusion

To sum up, Exploitation from labor union problems, wage problems, overtime working problems and labor strike problems do exist, but, some of the do not seem very exploited to male workers but more for female and child workers. On the other side, since male worker is usually the major force against the factory leaders, they are usually exploited as over-activeness in the labor strike and labor union. The exploitation of male workers in textile industry from 1936 to 1937 in Shanghai do exist, and people do not overlook them.

Bibliography

  1. Gordon, David M. 2006. “The China-Japan War,1931-1945.” Journal Of Military History 70 (1).
  2. He, Binxian. 1935. “yi nian lai de zhong guo gong shang ye一年來的中國工商業.” min zu za zhi 民族雜誌 (shang hai min zu za zhi she上海民族雜誌社) III (1).
  3. He, Deming. 1936. China Labor Problem.Part 1 中國勞工問題. 上. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行.
  4. He, Deming. 1936. China Labor Problem.Part 2 中國勞工問題. 下. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行.
  5. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店.
  6. Lin, Chaochao. 2012. “Resources of Legitimacy and Chinese Workers’ Activism:Restudying Shanghai Workers’ Strike in 1957合法化資源與中國工人的行動主義 1957年上海“工潮”再研究.” Chinese Journal of Sociology 社會 (Shanghai University) (01).
  7. Perry, Elizabeth J. 1993. “Textiles.” In Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor, by Elizabeth J. Perry, 167-214. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  8. Zong, Yi. 1920. “Shanghai de lao gong wen ti上海的勞工問題.” Jie fang yu gai zao 解放與改造 2 (1): 56-64.

  1. He, Deming. 1936. “Introduction Of China Labor Problem中國勞工問題導論.” In China Labor Problem.Part 1中國勞工問題.上, by He Deming, 2. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行. ↩︎

  2. He, Binxian. 1935. “yi nian lai de zhong guo gong shang ye一年來的中國工商業.” min zu za zhi民族雜誌 (shang hai min zu za zhi she上海民族雜誌社) III (1). ↩︎

  3. He, Deming. 1936. “Introduction Of China Labor Problem中國勞工問題導論.” In China Labor Problem.Part 1中國勞工問題. 上, by He Deming, 9. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行 ↩︎

  4. Gordon, David M. 2006. “The China-Japan War,1931-1945.” Journal Of Military History 70 (1). ↩︎

  5. Lin, Chaochao. 2012. “Resources of Legitimacy and Chinese Workers’ Activism:Restudying Shanghai Workers’ Strike in 1957合法化資源與中國工人的行動主義: 1957年上海“工潮”再研究.” Chinese Journal of Sociology社會 (Shanghai University) (01). ↩︎

  6. He, Deming. 1936. “Labor Union Problem工會問題.” In China Labor Problem.Part 1中國勞工問題. 上, by He Deming, 90. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行 ↩︎

  7. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 109-112. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  8. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “si zhi ye 絲織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 137-151. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  9. Table retrieved from : Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 56-58. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  10. Table Partially retrieved. Table retrieved from : Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 53. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  11. Zong, Yi. 1920. “Shanghai de lao gong wen ti上海的勞工問題.” Jie fang yu gai zao解放與改造 2 (1): 56-64. ↩︎

  12. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 34-36. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  13. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 108-109. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  14. Lin, Chaochao. 2012. “Resources of Legitimacy and Chinese Workers’ Activism:Restudying Shanghai Workers’ Strike in 1957合法化資源與中國工人的行動主義: 1957年上海“工潮”再研究.” Chinese Journal of Sociology社會 (Shanghai University) (01). ↩︎

  15. He, Deming. 1936. “Labor Strike Problem罷工問題.” In China Labor Problem.Part2中國勞工問題.下, by He Deming, 145-147. Shanghai: Shang wu Ying fa hang商務印發行. ↩︎

  16. As mentioned in the Labor Union section. ↩︎

  17. As mentioned in the Labor Union section. ↩︎

  18. Hu, Lin’ge, Sheng Xu, and Bangxing Zhu. 1992. “mian fang zhi ye棉紡織業.” In Shanghai chan ye yu Shanghai zhi gong上海產業與上海職工 , by Lin’ge Hu, Sheng Xu and Bangxing Zhu, 109-112. Shanghai: Shanghai shu dian上海書店. ↩︎

  19. Perry, Elizabeth J. 1993. “Textiles.” In Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor, by Elizabeth J. Perry, 167-214. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ↩︎