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Gov't move to ensure migrants get paid
Latest Updated by 2007-02-05 10:38:40
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China will make it mandatory for employers across the country to deposit money into a fund this year to guarantee that migrant workers get their wages.

Speaking via an online forum on the central government's website on Friday, Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Security and Director of the State Council's Office of Migrant Workers Affairs Hu Xiaoyi said the system was aimed at preventing employers from delaying workers' payment or cheating them.

Hu criticized some companies for disobeying the official minimum wage criterion and depriving the workers of their dues on some pretext or the other.

Though 27 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have set up various forms of guarantee deposit systems, a uniform and long-term mechanism is needed, Hu said.

Twenty provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions raised the official minimum wages standard substantially last year.

In South China's Guangdong Province, which has 23 million migrant workers, the minimum monthly wage was increased by 17.8 percent last year. In Shenzhen, the minimum wage is now 810 yuan ($104), the highest in the country.

Hu said the ministry would continue to urge more migrant workers to sign contracts with their employers this year, with the ultimate goal of making all of them possess such contracts by the end of next year.

"We will encourage more workers to join trade unions to negotiate with their employers and sign collective contracts," Hu said.

Many migrant workers dare not demand contracts or other legal rights from their employers for fear of losing their jobs, he said.

Hu said the draft on the Labor Contract Law, expected to be promulgated by the National People's Congress this year, would give an impetus to migrant workers to sign contracts with their employers.

"The government has paid great attention to migrant workers' rights and taken various vital steps," Hu said.

For example, to raise migrant workers' awareness on how to safeguard their rights and interests, many local governments have sent special poker cards to workers as gifts. The cards give the workers an idea of labor laws through cartoons and simple language.

The government also requires lawyers' offices to offer a certain amount of free legal services every year to disadvantaged people such as migrant workers.

Editor: Yan

By: Guan Xiaofeng Source: China Daily Website
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