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Migrant Workers Get Billions Overdue Pay

Employers across China paid out 5.7 billion yuan (US$689.24 million) in overdue wages to migrant workers in the first week of this year, 44.11 percent of the total overdue last year, said the Ministry of Construction Friday.


Construction administrations at all levels are checking both government-invested construction projects and construction companies for overdue payments to migrant workers, the ministry said.


The government was trying to help all migrant workers receive their pay before the Chinese New Year holiday, the ministry said.


Spring Festival, the traditional Lunar New Year beginning on Jan. 22 this year, is the major Chinese holiday for family gatherings. Many migrant workers are returning home with their earnings from the past year.


The Intermediate People's Court of Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, ordered employers to pay 1.8 million yuan to about 400 migrant workers on Thursday.


The construction industry accounts for a major part of the total overdue pay to migrant workers.


About 30 million migrant workers work in construction, about one-third of the country's total migrant workers in cities.


At the end of 2003, China launched a nationwide campaign to help migrant workers get their back pay. The State Council also issued a notice urging companies to pay up.


(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2004)


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