Chinese labourers are demanding better working conditions

China is struggling to accomodate a surge in the number of labour disputes that have arisen because of the global financial crisis, reported local media.

The number of labor disputes brought to court has grown as the Chinese government has sought to improve workplace conditions and make workers more aware of their rights, according to the New York Times, which quoted local sources in China.

"A rash of factory strikes this year, most notably at plants that make parts for Japanese automobile companies, has cast a spotlight on working conditions in manufacturing hubs along the coastal provinces," reported the paper.

Official statistics showed 295,000 labor dispute cases brought to court in 2008, an increase of 95 % from the previous year. The figure in 2009 was 318,600, and it was 207,400 in the first eight months of this year, China Daily said.

Companies are unable to satisfy workers demands for higher wages, said Chinese officials.

China has enacted two labour laws to guarantee workers rights and improve their access to legal arbitration.

The onset of the economic crisis and a wave of factory shutdowns coupled with rising worker awareness of their new rights led to the surge in dispute cases, according to the report.