Who to Decide ‘Good Job' or ‘Bad Job'? a Bargaining Game of Production: Case Study from Pearl River Delta
This preliminary empirical observation challenged our pre-understanding of precarious work. We assumed workers were forced to take precarious work; our empirical data informed us the opposite reflection from workers in the Pearl River Delta. This observation triggered us to ask this paper’s question: Who decides if a job is a ‘good job’ or a ‘bad job’? In order to answer this question, this paper will start from reviewing existing literature in relation to informal work and map out different understandings of precarious work. Conventionally, ‘good job’ refers to permanent position and high pay, most of workers when they face the choices to choose stability of work or higher payment, they would opt for the stability because the implication of stability includes pension and social security provided by the permanent position. Nevertheless, our empirical findings pointed us an opposite direction. Skilled workers in the Pearl River Delta would choose higher wages than permanent position, which begs the questions of China’s social welfare system as a whole, and also the imbalanced state-society relationship, that without a trade union or workers’ organisational support, workers chose to have short-term material interests in order to insure their own bargaining power in the production.