While the majority of Beijing residents were happily basking in
the warmth inside their heated homes on Thursday, many migrant
workers were left shivering in their makeshift tents on
construction sites, which are uncovered by the central heating
system so far.
Despite the start of four months of winter heating for residents
of Beijing on November 15, rural workers living on construction
sites do not have access to public heating services, the
Worker's Daily News reported Friday.
The city's heating system mainly serves the city's permanent
residential areas while housing on construction sites is temporary,
so it's the construction units themselves that should offer heating
to workers, a government official revealed. He added that there is
no policy on heating services at construction sites at present.
Authorities in Beijing have pledged to keep indoor temperatures
above 16 degrees Celsius for its citizens. However, as reported by
the Worker's Daily News, much of the makeshift housing at
construction sites does not have heating facilities for the
workers, though the temperature dropped to two degrees Celsius on
Thursday night in Beijing.
One rural worker from a construction site said his unit had
mentioned installing an electric radiator in the house but has not
lived up to its promise yet.
Others complained that the construction unit hasn't provided
"heating" in the past until it has gotten freezing cold, while this
year they haven't even received stoves from their bosses.
"It has been a big concern for us," said Chen Guorui, section
chief of the Rural Worker's Rights Office under the All-China
Federation of Trade Unions. "We should not overlook the equal
rights of rural workers on the first day of the heating
He added that the trade union has set up ten-part care
mechanisms for rural workers, one of which is to ensure them with
access to winter heating. Special teams will be sent to investigate
construction sites and check whether indoor temperatures in their
accommodations meet the standards, with a fine imposed by the
administrative department for violators.
Chen noted that to guarantee heating for migrant workers, it is
also crucial to maintain the rights of trade unions, which they
will continue to improve in the future.
(CRI November 17, 2007)