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Beijing Government Urges Employers to Pay Up

The Beijing Municipal Construction Commission has ordered all construction companies in the city to pay migrant workers their defaulted salaries for the first eight months of this year before October 1 -- the National Day.

Commission Director Liu Yongfu warned that enterprises or managers refusing to pay back wages will be held legally accountable.

He made the remarks at the commission's conference on the preparations for the 55th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Liu said all construction units should not only clear up back payments for the first eight months this year, but also carry out work safety inspections by the end of this month.

All the earthwork of foundations will be suspended during the National Day holiday between October 1 and 7 when tens of thousands of tourists from across the country are expected to visit the capital city, said Liu.

Liu Zhihua, vice-mayor of Beijing, said construction employers must sign contracts with migrant workers in which timely payment of wages must be a condition.

He emphasized that governments at all levels should take the lead in clearing up salaries owed at government-backed projects.

Companies will face the suspension of the projects if they fail to pay the workers' wages, said the vice-mayor.

Sources with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labour and Social Security revealed that the municipal government had helped 110,000 migrant workers recover a total of 290 million yuan (US$35 million) of unpaid wages in the first half of this year.

The efforts to clear up back payments have led to the first fall in the number of labour disputes in the city since 2000, according to the bureau.

(China Daily September 14, 2004)

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