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43.32-bln yuan recovered for unpaid wages
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Governments at all levels have recovered about 43.32 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion) for migrant workers' back wages since 2003, a government official said on Wednesday.

The figure was revealed by Sun Baoshu, Vice Minister of Labor and Social Security, in his report to a session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

With China's urbanization, millions of mostly rural migrant workers have been drawn to cities and towns. It was estimated that the figure probably exceeded 100 million.

The migrants have worked mainly in the construction industry, hotels, restaurants and other service sectors. Their wages are often in arrears, however, since managers refuse to pay them.

All levels of the Chinese government have been mobilized to solve the unpaid wage problem, and the State Council issued instructions in 2006 for dealing with the problems migrant workers have encountered.

The governments have strengthened supervision of businesses that hire large numbers of migrants and provided more legal advice to the migrants to protect their rights.

According to Sun, more than 60 million migrant workers have received free technical training organized by local governments since 2006.

Moreover, 36.25 million migrant workers have been covered by workers' compensation plans and 31.96 million have been covered by medical insurance, according to the vice minister.

Sun said in his report that the ministry will further improve its work to protect the rights of migrants and continue to receive supervision and instruction from the top legislature.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2007)

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