Govt vows to stem pay rows
Authorities urged to handle workers’ wage disputes before Spring Festival
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
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.