Chinese employers have in the past two months paid 21.5 billion yuan (US$2.62 billion) in overdue payment to migrant workers and construction teams, or about 68 percent of the total accumulated in the past several years.
The central government has called for tougher efforts to solve the lingering problem once and for all in the coming three years through institutional arrangements, according to government officials.
Statistics released by the Ministry of Construction show that about 89 percent of the delayed payment of wages and construction fees owed in 2003 to migrant workers and construction firms has been paid.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have written instructions on tackling the delayed payment of wages to migrant workers several times during the past year, calling for a mechanism and laws and regulations against delaying payment of wages to employees, mostly workers from rural areas.
Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan on Friday heard a report by the Ministry of Construction and four inspection task forces against the delayed payment of wages, and arranged for plans for the coming three years to solve the outstanding issue, set up a mechanism and formulate regulations as proposed by the president and premier.
The vice-premier said the central government has done a good job since the end of last year in clearing up delayed payment of money owed to construction teams and workers.
The central government sent joint task forces to various localities to supervise local governments in tackling the problem, which accepted complaints and reports of construction firms and workers, said the vice-primer.
In the coming three years, Zeng said, governments at all levels will improve the mechanism to make it difficult for those companies which delay payment of wages to migrant workers to have access to the construction market.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2004)