Festival of wage disputes kicks off

Updated: 2011-12-13 11:00

By Gao Qihui (chinadaily.com.cn)

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As the Spring Festival approaches, millions of Chinese construction workers will begin their long journey home for a family reunion.

But for many, it is also a time of year when they embark on the arduous tradition of begging employers for outstanding wages.

Most migrant workers do not have a solid legal basis for wage disputes as 75 percent of Chinese construction workers do not sign contracts with their employers, China Youth Daily reported Tuesday.

According to a survey released by Peking University on the living conditions of construction workers in Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, 75 percent fail to sign a contract and 63.3 percent of those who have do not keep their contracts to hand.

Pan Yi, associated professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University said the labor agreement cannot be confirmed without a contract, which has become a barrier for construction workers to obtain deferred wages and safeguard their legal rights.

The survey also shows that 40 percent of construction workers have experienced delayed wages, 22.5 percent only get paid after the projects completed and only 28.1 percent are paid monthly.

The average daily wage of a construction worker is 125 yuan ($19.6), working average 9.9 hours a day and 27 days a month,according to the survey.

The survey indicates that the government crackdown on unpaid wages owed by employers is unable to solve the problem and wage disputes should be settled by signing a contract and establishing a monthly payoff system.