Government Measures to Protect Migrant Workers

26 February 2002
In the wake of the peak flow of migrants from the countryside to the cities looking for work after the Lunar New Year Festival, the government announced that it would move to better protect the migrant workers. According to the China News Agency (20 February, 2002), the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will adopt five measures to protect migrants' legal rights. The measures will aim to manage a more systematic and rational labour market; prevent overcharging and swindling of migrants through job placement fees; provide better employment counselling services; and strengthen inspections to curb wage arrears and other infringements of the rights of migrant workers.

Migrant workers have often been subjected to the worst violations of labour standards such as forced overtime, hazardous working conditions, and wage arrears. According to the People's Daily (11 February, 2002), the number of labour disputes lodged with the Shenzhen Labour Bureau has been almost doubling annually up to the year 2000. In 1999, a total of 12,000 labour disputes were recorded, the majority of which involved complaints over wage arrears.

According to a Xinhuanet report (16 February, 2002), there are at least 100 million rural migrants looking for work in the cities. Experts forecast that the number will reach 170 million in the next few years.

(Source: China's news agencies)

Online: 2002-02-26
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