Luxury goods and services are now a well-established and highly visible part of urban life in China, giving the appearance at least of a relatively affluent society. However the provision of these goods and services is largely dependent on low-paid workers who are vulnerable to exploitation.
As the Chinese economy slows and anti-corruption campaigns take their toll on luxury goods sales, these workers are finding life harder than ever, and, just like factory workers, miners and construction workers, luxury goods and service providers are staging strikes and protests over wage arrears and lay-offs.
In the retail and services sectors overall, there has been a noticeable surge in worker protests over the last year. In July, services and retail accounted for 24 percent of all incidents recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map, slightly more than in the manufacturing sector and second only to construction. In the same month last year, services and retail accounted for less than seven percent of the total.