We applaud the establishment of a special department in charge of affairs of migrant workers, which indicates the government's increased attention to protecting these people's rights and interests. We hope the department can perform its full responsibility, says an article in Beijing News. The following is an excerpt:
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has set up a special department to safeguard the rights of farmers-turned- migrant workers in cities, help them get training and ensure safe working conditions, in a bid to achieve social harmony.
As long as there exists the paradoxical social problem with both shortage of rural workers and their difficulty in getting jobs, the new department may break the ice by strengthening management and public service for the country's 200 million migrant workers.
Since the reform and opening-up, migrant workers have been making great contributions, by constructing millions of skyscrapers and bridges, in bringing about the nation's modernization.
However, may we feel shame for what and how the society recompenses migrant workers who, after having shouldered hard jobs urban people unwilling to do, were usually treated with unfair wages, casually extended timetables, scrimpy social security bills and even insults.
As all these problems are so complicated, having arisen over long years in the past, tough measures must be brought in to solve them.
Moreover, though three migrant workers have been elected as deputies and thus attended the session of the National People's Congress earlier this year to speak for hundreds of millions, the number is simply far from enough.
In fact, living conditions for rural workers are not only poor, but they also vary greatly. For example, some take along their families, some go it alone; some may be residents for a long term, some others may have to travel to city after city to get unsteady jobs. And to ensure management and services can match all these different needs, officials from the new department must go to the roots and get a real picture of migrant workers' lives.
(China Daily August 4, 2008)