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New System to Ensure Migrant Workers' Pay

China will work out a mechanism to ensure that migrant workers are paid more and on time, according to a recent document released by the State Council.

To strictly implement the minimum wage system and gradually improve the wages of migrant workers, who come from rural areas, would be the core work of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security this year, officials at the ministry said.

For one thing, there would be strict penalties on delayed wages.

Statistics from the ministry show that there are 200 million migrant workers, of whom 120 million moved from rural areas to work in cities.

China would draw up a permanent plan to improve rural infrastructure as part of an effort to boost agricultural development and close the widening wealth gap between urban and rural areas.

China has vowed to considerably increase investment in the countryside so that urban and rural economies develop evenly.

The government would expand its agricultural budget and channel its revenues from land-use charges and arable land occupation tax to rural areas. Local governments would also set aside part of their city construction budgets for rural areas.

The central government is likely to raise its 2008 rural budget to some 520 billion yuan (US$72.2 billion) from 392 billion yuan in 2007.

An equal employment system for rural and urban laborers would also be established, with farmers who have a stable job and residence in cities having access to urban-resident status. Their income, social security, housing and children's education would be better protected.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2008)

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