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China Daily Website

Urban sanitation workers need more support

Updated: 2013-03-14 19:18

Chinese authorities should invest more in the sanitation sector to help low-paid cleaners receive higher wages and protect their labor rights, a senior democratic party official said

Urban sanitation employs more than 4 million workers nationwide. About 80 percent are contracted workers and are underpaid, according to Shi Zhongyan, head of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang Liaoning provincial committee.

The sanitation sector is government affiliated and its workers do not have to contribute to social endowment insurance and their pensions are paid for out of the government budget.

In the sector, contracted employees work in cleaning, garbage transportation and disposal positions, which are hard, dirty and dangerous, Shi was quoted as saying by People's Daily.

In Liaoning, the average income was about 3,200 yuan ($520) a month in 2011. In the sanitation sector, regular workers earned 2,650 yuan a month and contracted workers were only paid 800 to 900 yuan a month, said Shi.

“There are 84,000 sanitation workers in Liaoning and their average age is 49. They are doing one of the toughest jobs,” he said.

Because of the lack of financial input, the sanitation sector employs cheap, contracted laborers to lower costs, according to Shi.

The government should put more money into the sector and set sanitation workers' wages according to the average income of workers in service industry, he suggested. More efforts should be made to improve the working conditions of sanitation workers and to better protect their labor rights, Shi said.