Business / Economy

Labor relations improvement signals human rights progress

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-09 11:00

BEIJING - The Chinese government's latest assertion on workers' rights may bode well for the country's vision of a harmonious society and its course of improving human rights protection.

In a guideline published Wednesday, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council said improving labor relations is an urgent task as the country is undergoing major economic and social changes with diversifying employee appeals and increasing labor disputes.

The words came just as China is locked in an economic "new normal" state of slow growth - the country's leadership has vowed to change the country's economic structure, which is long led by exports and massive state-directed investments, into one more responsive to the growing needs of a consumer-driven society.

Harmonious labor relations thus are of vital pertinence to the country's healthy economic development and make up a key cornerstone for the CPC's position as the ruling party.

But one should not overlook another strong signal Chinese authorities are sending here, that people's rights and welfare must be protected, especially in a time of drastic social and economic changes when labor disputes are running high.

Authorities must stick to the people-first principle and take safeguarding their fundamental rights and interests as the starting point of their work, Wednesday's guideline read.

In particular, the guideline said China will take steps to improve the wage payment system to make sure employees are paid timely and in full.

Pilot programs will be enacted to offer guaranteed financial support for arrears of wages to protect the interests of rural migrant workers, it read.

Migrant workers are often the victims of unscrupulous employers and often make up the most vulnerable group in labor disputes. Earlier reports said a female migrant worker was allegedly beaten to death during a confrontation with police when chasing unpaid wages in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province in December last year.

In November, at least ten migrant workers threatened to jump from a building after failing to claim unpaid wages in Suzhou city in Anhui province.

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