Migrant Workers Struggle to Collect Unpaid Wages
    2013-01-23 15:14:49     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Wang Wei

Spring Festival is around the corner and it's time for family reunions. However, many home-going migrant workers are still struggling to get wages that were supposed to have been paid to them many months and sometimes years ago. For migrant workers, getting what belongs to them is a tough job. Tuesday, China's Supreme Court just issued a judicial explaination, stipulating that people who maliciously overdue employee's wages may face serious punishement, the highest may be up to 7 years imprisonment. Our reporter Li Dong has the details.


Year after year, disappointment is the only result they get in the end. Asking for their legal pay has never been easy for Chinese migrant workers.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the number of migrant workers asking for overdue salaries is on the rise this year.

Lao He is a construction worker. Again, this year, he and a few other migrant worker friends decided to go back to Hebei Province to ask for salaries which were supposed to have been paid to them six years ago.

"I want my money. I want to go home. I even didn't get my salary in 2007."

The building Lao He and his co-workers built was put into use two years ago. But they still haven't received their wages. The unpaid salaries range from 10 thousand to 15 thousand yuan for each of them.

It took great efforts to find the foreman of their construction team who recruited them. But the boss, Zhang Xiaoquan says he is also a victim and didn't get paid too.

"I really have no solution. I don't have the money either. Many people are looking for me like you, too. I don't know what to do. I used to seek help from the government, but nobody is willing to help us."

Together they went to the contractor to ask for their money. However, the contractor told them that the project developer owes them money, altogether 38 million yuan.

Currently, Lao He and his fellow migrant workers are heading to the project developer in Hebei Province, hoping to ask for even a little bit of their money back. But what awaits them seems already certain.

Lao He's example is just one of the thousands of similar cases in China. Lin Danping is deputy director of the Labor Supervision Team, a department in charge of implementing labor-related laws.

"Overdue wages for migrant workers occur on some small scale enterprises. They are mainly in manufacturing, construction and some labor intensive enterprises, and some service industries."

Unpaid wages are most common in the construction business where they are also the most difficult to collect. As disadvantaged low-end labor, workers are the first to be sacrificed when the original construction projects have been separated into many sub-contracts.

China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and 11 other related ministries and departments met recently and agreed to try all necessary means to get migrant workers' wages back before the Spring Festival and to try to avoid the situation from reoccurring.

For CRI, I am Li Dong.



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The Beijing Hour updated 20:00 2014/05/23
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