Recovery of Overdue Payments Urged for Migrant Workers before Spring Festival

Guanghxi People's Government, 5 January 2003

A senior official in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Sunday ordered local governments of all levels to ensure that migrant workers in the region get their overdue wages prior to the approaching Chinese Lunar New Year which falls on Jan. 22.

Cao Bochun, secretary of the Communist Party of China committee of the region, said at a local work conference that all payments defaulted in 2003 should be recovered to migrant workers to ensure a happy Spring Festival of their families.

He also ordered that as from 2004, payments to migrant workers should not be delayed.

A survey conducted in late 2003 on 19 units in Nanning and Guigang cities showed that the units had delayed payments to 41.4 percent of their migrant workers with the highest amount up to 20,000 yuan (2,400 US dollars) a person, and 34.5 percent of the migrant workers have yet been paid to the full.

Cao also urged local construction, labor, judiciary, industrial and commercial departments to enhance supervision over the payments to migrant workers, in a bid to safeguard the legal rights of the workers.

At a Friday teleconference of the State Council, Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan called on all-level governments across the country to further regulate the construction market and ensure therecovery of defaulted payment for migrant workers.

An investigation in 10 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities showed that about 50 percent of the delayed wages of migrant workers had been recovered by the end of 2003.

However, some regions fell far behind and the mechanism coordinating different departments needed to be improved, said Zeng, adding that about 80 percent of the more than 38 million construction workers are migrants and the payment delay has affected their incomes and lives.

This issue is especially urgent as the Spring Festival, the most important traditional Chinese festival, draws near. It is an important step for the government to protect people's interests and of great significance to regulate the construction market, said Zeng.