The central government has warned local officials that they need to settle disputes with migrant workers over unpaid wages before the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on February 14. From AP:
The rare urgent warning from the State Council comes as tens of millions of migrant workers return to their home villages from China’s booming cities to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which starts next weekend. The workers expect to collect pay, especially back pay, before returning home to families often expecting their financial support.
“Recently in a few places there have been mass incidents over migrant worker pay, especially in the area of construction,” said the warning, posted on the State Council’s Web site. It said officials found responsible for mass protests would be punished.
China’s Communist Party leaders fear mass protests as a major source of social instability, and government payments to prevent unrest are not uncommon.
The order tells officials to step in and pay migrant workers for government projects, and even for private construction projects, where most disputes over back pay occur.