Migrant workers, mainly farmers seeking job opportunities in cities, are still unable to get equal treatment as local urban dwellers when it comes to the protection of their rights and interests. The government should enhance their efforts to guard the rights of migrant workers, urged an article in Legal Daily. Excerpts follow:
Most migrant workers are on their way home for the Spring Festival after working hard for a year, but many of them are not leaving with joy.
According to a survey conducted in South China's Guangdong Province, the practice of delaying or even refusing to pay migrant workers' wages exists in more than half of private or foreign-invested enterprises in the province.
Though the Labor Law was issued many years ago, migrant workers' rights are still being severely violated in some places. More than that, migrant workers' rights in many other aspects are not properly protected.
In current practice, citizens' welfares are often associated with their residence. Without a proper residence, he/she may be unable to receive social security benefits. Such association is not reasonable, judging from the legal aspect.
In some cities, migrant workers are labeled out from local residents and receive inferior treatment.
Some local governments have started to reform the residence registration system and disconnect it with citizen's rights and interests.
Every citizen should be protected equally by the law regardless of his/her identity or place of residence. Migrant workers should not be marginalized.
More than that, as most migrant workers are not well-educated nor well-to-do, they are more vulnerable to prejudice than other social groups. The responsibility of protecting their rights is even heavier for the government.
Governments at all levels should eliminate policies or practices discriminating against migrant workers and offer equal treatment to all. Governmental supervision should be carried out in enterprises employing migrant workers. Employers should be checked to see whether they abide by the laws and regulations relating with labor issues.
Relevant government departments in Guangdong, for example, have taken measures to help migrant farmers win their arrear payments.
(Southcn.com February 1, 2002)