Law enforcement bodies join hands against wage delays

2013-01-12 02:27:02 GMT2013-01-12 10:27:02(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Nationwide law enforcement departments helped 6.22 million workers collect about 20 billion yuan (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) in delayed wages in 2012, Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said on Friday.

Migrant workers are most vulnerable to wage delays.

Twelve ministry-level departments, including Yin's ministry, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, held a teleconference on Friday during which they asked grassroots authorities to improve handling of labor disputes to ensure the country's 250 million migrants receive the wages that they are due before Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 10 this year.

Yin said wage delays have extended to wider export-oriented sectors, including the shipbuilding and textile industries, as the country's economy has seen slower growth.

"Labor-intensive companies are seeing an increase in the number of wage delay cases," he said.

More than 220,000 wage-related labor disputes were reported nationwide in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 12.7 percent, Yin said.

Wage delays resulted in 190 mass incidents involving more than 100 people each in the first 11 months in 2012, a 21 percent increase compared with the same period in 2011, Yin said.

The minister promised strengthened supervision and higher efficiency to deal with wage delays.

Thorough inspections will be carried out in migrant-intensive industries and in enterprises where wage delays once happened, he said.

Smoother reporting methods such as hotlines will be used to ensure that migrants' requests are heard in time, he said.

"We will continue to open 'green channels' to address wage-related labor disputes and strive to complete handling those cases before the festival," he said.

Grassroots labor authorities have also been asked to finish handling wage-delay cases that involve more than 10 workers within the day after they receive the report.

The 12 ministry-level departments will cooperate to deal with malicious wage delays.

The country made malicious wage delays a crime last year. Malicious delay is legally defined as employers transferring capital to avoid paying workers or refusing to pay outright.

Chen Zhong, chief engineer of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said at the conference that his ministry will work to ensure that project investors pay construction companies in time, thus giving them no excuse to delay paying workers.

"We will record the names of companies that pay workers late and make them public to increase the cost of violating labor laws," he said.

Chen said his ministry will strive to make labor contracts cover more workers.

A report by Beijing Normal University showed that only 33 percent of construction workers in the capital have signed labor contracts.

Chen said they will also seek to provide legal assistance to migrant workers to help them get their wages.

Feng Zhenglin, vice-transport minister, said his ministry has also been working to make workers sign labor contracts with employers to ensure that they receive pay on a monthly basis as part of a broader goal to avoid wage delays.

"We are asking transportation facility constructors to sign labor contracts with workers and give workers bank cards so migrants can be paid every month," he said. "For workers who temporarily work on a project, they are also asked to sign temporary labor contracts with employers, and the two parties should discuss the wages and how they are paid."

(Source: China Daily)

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