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Firms told be fair to migrant workers
By Liu Chang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-22 00:14

Beijing Municipal People's Congress legislators Thursday urged local government officials to adopt effective measures safeguarding the legal interests of employees, especially migrant workers.

In the first eight months of this year, farmers-turned-construction workers have not been paid salaries amounting to as much as 330 million yuan (US$40 million) by their bosses in the construction industry, according to Luo Qing, vice-director of the Financial and Economic Committee of the congress.

Luo also pointed out that some foreign enterprises and private enterprises have failed to protect the interests of employees according to Labour Law, especially towards female employees.

"The municipal government should strengthen supervision towards illegal behaviour that ignores the rights of employees," Luo urged.

The vice-director appealed for a joint supervision system among various governmental departments to better uphold the law.

Luo made the comments Thursday at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the municipal people's congress.

On the issue, Vice-Mayor Sun Anmin vowed to upgrade the working system to regulate behaviours of enterprises.

"We will give priority to prevention of such illegal behaviour that violates rights of workers, instead of mere punishment," he said yesterday.

The formation of trade unions is expected to be encouraged within non-public businesses to safeguard labourers' interests, according to the vice-mayor.

Tripartite consultation systems among labour security authorities, trade unions and enterprises have been established since 2001 at municipal, district (county) and community levels.

The issue of dealing with delayed salaries in the construction industry and other issues safeguarding legal rights of employees are expected to be involved in the tripartite consultations, according to Sun.

During the past three years, a total of 207,000 enterprises have undergone inspections from local governments over the issue of employer interest protection.

Salaries of 650 million yuan (US$79 million), which have been delayed in payment by enterprises, were paid through efforts of the government in the past three years, according to Sun.

Migrant workers have also become able to gain medical and industrial injury insurance like their counterparts with permanent residence in Beijing, the vice-mayor said.

Meanwhile, it was also announced Thursday that the minimum living standard for urban residents in Beijing has been raised to 290 yuan (US$35) per month from the original figure of 170 yuan (US$20).

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