China's 200 million migrant workers are still facing employment discrimination and services for them are not in place, said a political advisor on Tuesday.
"Migrant workers have lower pay and worse welfare than urban workers," said Li Zhuobin, a member of the Standing Committee of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at a meeting on balanced development between urban and rural areas.
Citing the construction industry as an example, he said the salary of migrant workers could be two-thirds or half that of their urban counterparts.
In other cases, employers refuse to hire workers without urban permanent residence permits.
"Many employers do not pay them in a timely way," said Li, also vice chairman of the Central Committee of China Zhi Gong Party, one of the country's eight democratic parties.
"In sectors that hire a large number of migrant workers, such as construction, catering and entertaining, the government should be tougher about implementing the salary deposit rule," he said.
The rule requires employers to deposit a certain amount of money in a special labor department bank account. The money is used to pay migrant workers whose employers don't pay them. It has been implemented in the construction industry.
"The supervision of employers should be tougher and legal assistance to migrant workers should improve, so they could fight against discrimination through legal channels," Li said.
In addition, the training of rural workers lags the requirements of employers and the public employment service does not work very well to help migrant workers find jobs, he added.
Li suggested that preferential policies to promote employment should cover both urban and rural residents and local governments should continue lifting discrimination rules against migrant workers.
China has registered unemployment in urban areas. The political advisor suggested that this should be done in the countryside as well. Both urban and rural unemployed should enjoy any preferential policies.
(Xinhua News Agency September 3, 2008)