It is vitally important to use the law to protect migrant workers' rights and interests, says a signed article in Dazhong Daily. An excerpt follows:
The Labor and Social Security Bureau of Henan Province is soliciting public opinion on its newly drafted regulation on the protection of the rights and interests of migrant workers. It is said to be China's first regional legislation in this field.
The draft regulation contains rules on labor contracts, wage payments, social insurance and labor use. It also clearly defines the rights of migrant workers and the obligations of employers. Judging from its contents, the regulation is quite rigorous.
The significance of this regulation goes far beyond the legal protection it can provide to migrant workers. The significance lies in its recognition of migrant laborers' status in cities. It acknowledges the various rights of migrant workers in a legal form and will help these drifting migrant workers gain equality with their urban counterparts.
Migrant workers are a rather huge group in China. This group faces common problems such as high mobility, high risks, low incomes and difficulties in protecting their rights. Society should address the practical issue of protecting the rights of this disadvantaged group.
The state has issued laws and regulations recognizing and protecting migrant workers' rights and interests. But without specific provisions for their implementation, these laws and regulations have not functioned well in reality. To gain their due rights and interests, migrant workers, as well as the governments, have paid dearly. Disputes caused by defaulted payments to migrant workers have become a major social issue.
As Henan Province's regulation comes into effect, migrant workers will have a law that truly speaks for them. It will at least enable migrant laborers working in Henan to get strong legal support.
The new regulation shows that society has further realized the importance of migrant laborers. This regulation is not a special favor, it is something that has been due to migrant workers for quite some time.
We will hopefully see similar regulations issued in other areas in the near future
(China Daily July 28, 2006)