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Migrant workers receive their backpay
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-06 08:53

Liu Zejiang, a migrant worker, was all smiles last week as he counted his long-delayed salary.

Thanks to the local federation of trade unions for migrant workers, the 35-year-old from Yuping Dong Ethnic Autonomous County in Southwest China's Guizhou Province was finally paid more than 2,000 yuan (US$240).

"We feel at home in the federation since it has helped migrant workers get their payments," Liu said.

Since the federation was founded four months before, it has taken in around 5,000 migrant workers as members.

Besides safeguarding workers' rights and interests, the federation also helps laid-off workers seek re-employment.

The federation in Guizhou Province is one among many such organizations across the country coming to the fore to help migrants who have made their way to cities seeking a better life, said Gu Changsheng, a publicity official from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) during an interview with China Daily yesterday.

To help workers voice their complaints, a hotline was set up by the trade union organizations at various levels in October of last year.

By the end of December, the hotline had received more than 60,000 complaints from workers nationwide, according to ACFTU statistics.

"All the problems they complained of have been resolved properly,"Dong Li, director of the trade union's Financial Auditing Committee, said yesterday at a press conference in Beijing.

In the meantime, ACFTU and its branches across the country established 1,763 aid centres to offer needy workers job opportunities, legal services and policy consultations, Dong said.

"While urging enterprises to pay overdue salaries to workers, ACFTU will help government departments to supervise the implementation of the regulations on minimum salaries this year," he said.

Also at the top of the agenda is helping laid-off workers start their tiny businesses through small no-interest loans, according to Dong.

Priority will be given to job training to those who are not competitive in the job market due to age and lack of skills, Dong said.

ACFTU plans to train 50,000 laid-off workers in the next three years together with the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

To ensure needy workers have a good Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, which fells on February 9, 15 ACFTU official teams were sent to cities and towns to give those in need cash and essentials.

A total of 35 million yuan (US$4.2 million) in cash or material aid will be handed to needy people, according to Dong.


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