Govt vows to stem pay rows

Au­thor­i­ties urged to han­dle work­ers’ wage dis­putes be­fore Spring Fes­ti­val

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HE DAN in Bei­jing and QI XIN in Zhengzhou

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has pledged greater ef­forts to help mi­grant work­ers re­ceive un­paid wages.

Yin Weimin, min­is­ter of hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity, said on Thurs­day that de­faulted wages is an un­solved is­sue that re­mains preva­lent in the con­struc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing and cater­ing in­dus­tries. Pay dis­putes of­ten oc­cur at the end of the year.

Min­istry sta­tis­tics show that la­bor au­thor­i­ties na­tion­wide han­dled about 174,000 de­layed pay­ment cases in the first three quar­ters of this year. The gov­ern­ment helped 3.43 mil­lion em­ploy­ees claim de­layed wages worth 18.85 bil­lion yuan ($3.1 bil­lion).

Dur­ing a video con­fer­ence jointly held by 10 min­istrylevel de­part­ments in­clud­ing the trans­port and pub­lic se­cu­rity min­istries in Bei­jing, Yin urged lo­cal of­fi­cials to op­er­ate a 24-hour hot­line and place in­ten­sive mon­i­tor­ing on com­pa­nies that have been black­listed for wage de­lays.

He also urged strength­ened co­op­er­a­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

Bosses will risk los­ing their li­censes and even im­pris­on­ment if they refuse to pay the de­layed wages or trans­fer cap­i­tal to avoid pay­ing work­ers, Yin said.

The meet­ing con­cluded by set­ting the goal of prop­erly han­dling all pay dis­putes and mass in­ci­dents due to mi­grant work­ers’ de­layed pay be­fore the Spring Fes­ti­val.

Bian Yup­ing, a 48-year-old mi­grant worker in Henan prov­ince, said he hopes lo­cal of­fi­cials can help him get his un­paid wages.

Bian lives in a con­struc­tion site with no elec­tric­ity or tap wa­ter and has been wait­ing for his salary from a sub­con­trac­tor for more than a year.

“My wife calls me two or three times a day to ask about whether I got the money. The whole fam­ily is wait­ing for the money to hold a wed­ding cer­e­mony for my son,” Bian said, adding he should be paid about 100,000 yuan.

Bian and 313 other work­ers were hired by the sub­con­trac­tor Zhang Guop­ing last year for a con­struc­tion project in Puyang, Henan prov­ince. Con­struc­tion was halted six months ago as the project con­trac­tor ran away af­ter his com­pany was found to be fak­ing its qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Zhang owes 1.16 mil­lion yuan to 14 work­ers.

Zhang said the lo­cal la­bor au­thor­ity sug­gested he sue the con­trac­tor, but his fel­low work­ers de­cided not to file a law­suit be­cause of the time and ex­penses in­volved.

Zhang said he is pre­par­ing records of work­ers’ wages and work at­ten­dance to give to the lo­cal la­bor au­thor­ity.

Li Chenghua, a lawyer spe­cial­iz­ing in la­bor dis­putes from An­hui prov­ince, said the case is typ­i­cal.

Li said the lo­cal la­bor au­thor­ity should ask con­trac­tors to pay a de­posit ded­i­cated to pay­ing ar­rears, an in­no­va­tive prac­tice that has been car­ried out in some prov­inces. Con­tact the writer at hedan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

RUAN CHUANBAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

A group of mi­grant work­ers, who sued their con­trac­tor af­ter he failed to pay them on time, re­ceive their long-awaited wages from a court of­fi­cial in Suzhou, An­hui prov­ince, in Novem­ber.

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