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Yangtze River Cities United to Help Migrant Workers
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Representatives of 29 city governments along the Yangtze River have gathered in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality to discuss and hopefully sign an agreement on the protection of migrant workers' rights.

The cities include powerhouses such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan and Chongqing.

At the two-day conference which opened on Monday, the cities said they will end discriminatory regulations and employment practices against migrant workers. They also plan to improve the social welfare system for migrant workers including covering medical services and providing injury insurance, according to an official with the Chongqing Development and Reform Commission.

The official said talks will be held on how to provide unified services to migrant workers who shift from province to province. The 29 cities have vowed to improve labor contracts, to ensure payment and to provide community services for migrant workers.

"We work toward providing legal aid and schooling for their children," the official was quoted by the local Chongqing Morning Post as saying.

The prospective agreement will engage the 29 cities to provide information about its labor force requirements on the Internet, details which will be made available to migrant workers from other cities.

Under the accord, training bases will be jointly built by the 29 cities with employment records being kept.

The goal of the cities is to build a fair, unified labor force market for both urban and rural areas and establish an employment system based on fair competition. Employers who treat migrant workers unfairly will be penalized, the official added.

(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2006)

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