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Migrants Learn About Legal Rights

Migrant construction workers around the Shanghai must pass classes on how to protect their legal rights in order to get a certificate allowing them to work in the city.

The city has invited college teachers and police officers to give lessons to migrant builders at the construction sites throughout the city, teaching them how to solve a dispute with employers and also advising them on local traffic regulations.

The classes were set up to help workers enhance their awareness of their legal rights, said Liu Zhen, director of the Luwan District Construction Administrative Agency. Luwan was among the first districts citywide to set up classes for the 500,000 migrant builders in Shanghai.

"The one-day lesson began two weeks ago and has covered more than 10 construction units in our district," Liu said.

The classroom is located on the construction site and the number of students ranges from 200 to 800, he added.

Shanghai Daily reporters attended one lesson on Nantangbang Road, Luwan District yesterday morning, sitting on concrete blocks with more than 200 workers from two nearby construction units.

A teacher from Jianfeng College gave a lesson on legal safeguards against employment disputes.

"The lessons enable us to improve security awareness," said Shao Jianhua, a Jiangsu Province native. "We were told we could turn to local construction administrative departments in case our rights are violated."

The 41-year-old said the classes will help those from rural areas adapt to city life.

"Most of us grew up in the countryside and our life style is much different in the new environment," Shao said.

(Shanghai Daily April 19, 2005)

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