Protecting the interests of migrant workers through a united approach will be valuable, says a commentary in Beijing News. An excerpt follows:
A conference jointly hosted by 29 cities alongside the Yangtze River will be held in Chongqing to discuss the problems met by migrant workers in cities, including medical insurance, their children's education and the protection of their legal rights.
If these 29 cities reach agreement on these issues with a practical settlement at the conference, it would mark significant progress in protecting the interests of migrant workers and a wise attempt by local governments to seek development that endorses their instant interests as well as the long-term interests.
A survey on migrant workers by the National Bureau of Statistics said that nearly 120 million rural residents left their homes to find jobs in cities in 2004. About 70 per cent of them work in the eastern areas of the country and 50 per cent of them work in cities outside their home provinces.
The Yangtze River has nurtured an economic zone along its banks. An active flow of information, capital, workers and material wealth has been formulated within this zone.
Localities here are bound to facilitate the exchange of capital and labour force to realize a more efficient allocation of resources, hence sound economic development for all.
When the local governments in this economic zone can join forces to issue policies encouraging the free flow of human resources and protect the interests of workers, they would have gone beyond the short-term interests of their own and made politically and economically wise decisions.
If these policies are concrete and practical, they would eliminate the obstacles posed by regional policies, like household registration, reducing the costs of the employers, local governments and the workers themselves.
At the same time, when migrant workers get substantial protection of their rights and ensured access to social security, the employment situation within the economic zone would be improved and economic growth guaranteed. It would also promote the urbanization and industrialization of the region.
The regional efforts would also stimulate the development of related legislation at the national level and set positive examples for other localities to make united efforts to improve their regional economy.
(China Daily November 28, 2006)