As I've said before, my worry is that the government will take this as a sign that it should hold back on strengthening labor protections. There are signs that this is exactly how authorities have read the situation. Already, provincial and municipal minimum wage raises have been frozen. The recently released implementation guidelines for the Labor Contract Law are watering down the law's impact, as are local regulations.
Beijing should realize that far from being a solution to economic difficulties, bad working conditions have made an already bad situation worse. For example, because it did not ensure that wages were paid on time, the government is now forced to pick up the tab for Taiwanese companies that disappear in the night, leaving their workers months behind in wages. Non-payment of social security fees (and the non-transferability of those payments to workers' home provinces) make the crowds returning to Hunan and Sichuan dangerously insecure---and threaten stability in the interior.
This crisis should be seen as an opportunity for China to reaffirm its commitment to fairness and to creating higher value-added industries, rather than an excuse to retreat.