The protection of migrant workers' rights continues to be of the
topics dominating this year's National People's Congress and
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference sessions. Ren
Qixing, a member of the 10th National Committee of the CPPCC, has
put forward four key aspects of migrant workers' rights that must
Ren said that the current state of affairs is not satisfactory,
particularly since migrant workers continue to be fall victim to
delays in wage payments and cuts, and lawsuits arising from
work-related injury disputes are increasing in number.
According to Ren, the task of improving protection of migrant
workers' rights is difficult because of weak supervision by labor
and social security departments (LSSDs), especially over such
issues as labor contracts, work safety and timely wage
Ren highlighted the following four key aspects of the issue that
must be addressed:
First, the LSSDs should continue to make strenuous effort to
supervise migrant workers' labor contracts, and be open to dealing
with disputes. When faced with contract non-performance, fraud or
employers refusing to sign contracts with migrant workers, LSSDs
should order compliance by employers. If rights have been breached,
LSSDs should order employers to pay compensation. If the breaches
amount to crimes according to Chinese law, the matters must be
referred to the courts.
Second, detailed rules and regulations on safeguarding migrant
workers' rights should be mapped out and soon. Employers should
provide LSSDs with lists of employees for registration. Meanwhile,
LSSDs should develop the framework of a standard contract of
employment, and ensure that employers sign their contracts with
employees. Copies of the signed contracts should be sent back to
the LSSDs as records.
Third, a payment distribution supervision system must be set up
to deal with the non- or late payment of wages by employers. Those
who deliberately default on payments should be sent to judicial
departments for investigation.
Fourth, work safety departments need to further improve safety
and supervision in production. Employers must be pushed to provide
the relevant and necessary safety facilities, and to take measures
to protect the workers against workplace-related diseases.
On-the-job training should also be offered to employees, especially
those who are engaged in mining or the production of dangerous
substances and material.
(China Development Gateway by Wind Gu and Unisumoon March 7,