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Spring Festival Set as Deadline for Back Pay for Transients

Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan has set Spring Festival, the traditional Lunar New Year which falls on Jan.22 this year, as the deadline for the payment of delayed salaries for transient workers, mostly in the construction sector.


Zeng, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, set the deadline in a tour of north Hebei Province and Beijing, the national capital, on Jan. 5-6.


During his trip, the official visited construction workers and talked with them to see if the contractors have kept their promise to pay the employees on time.


Zeng reiterated the government's pledge to completely resolve the issue of the delayed payment in the construction industry within three years. He said those who have delayed the payment intentionally will be punished.


Meanwhile, he urged local governments to begin the work by first dealing with building projects that are funded by the government.


In Beijing, the transients were owed 7.35 billion yuan (about US$885.5 million) by their employers in 2003, and so far, 90 percent of the delayed salaries have been paid.


In Hebei, the rural workers have only received 120 million yuan (about US$14.45 million), about 40 percent of the money owed by construction companies or sub-contractors in 2003.


(Xinhua News Agency January 8, 2004)


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