Legal resources urged for migrant workers

Updated: 2011-07-09 07:56

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - A business leader in South China's Guangdong province has called for better popularization of labor laws among migrant workers and local businesses to avoid social unrest from labor disputes.

"In addition to better care for migrant workers, businesses should attach more importance to studying and popularizing labor laws to improve the workers' awareness of legal means of coping with labor disputes," said Zhan Xueju, president of the Xintang Chamber of Commerce.

Zhan's call came after the removal of two leading government and Party officials of Xintang township in Zengcheng, a suburb of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, following an incident of unrest in June.

The township has been labeled China's denim capital. It has about 3,000 businesses and more than 150,000 workers engaged in manufacturing denim and helping make nearly half of the nation's denim products.

More than 200 migrant workers were involved in the unrest, triggered by a pregnant migrant woman and her husband being injured in a dispute with a public security worker in Xintang on June 10.

Workers gathered in front of a supermarket later that day and some hurled bottles and bricks at government officials and police vehicles. They then marched toward the nearby Dadun police station, damaging several police vehicles and private cars with rocks.

"Without awareness of using legal means, the migrant workers took extreme measures, such as hurting innocent local people and officials, to vent their growing anger," Zhan told China Daily.

Liu Guanyou, Party chief of Xintang, and township head Mai Wenguang were both removed from their posts on Thursday.

Eleven people suspected of being involved in the unrest have been charged with obstruction of official affairs, causing a disturbance and intentional damage of property, according to a statement issued by the Guangzhou public security and social order authority.

According to the statement, a public security officer surnamed Lu who was involved in the unrest was detained for 10 days for improper behavior and has been dismissed from his post.

Zhan Xueju suggested that the city government provides more legal assistance to migrant workers, most of whom come from Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

Su Zhijia, deputy Party chief of Guangzhou, attributed the incident to migrant workers' mounting anger at the inaccessibility of good public services.

"Public services for migrant workers need to be improved to help avoid further turmoil," Su said at a public security meeting on Monday.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/09/2011 page4)