Recently the Sichuan Provincial Trade Union Federation issued a circular calling on trade unions across the province to help migrant workers to recover the pay owed to them before the Spring Festival, China’s most important traditional holiday which falls on February 19, 2015.
The circular provides that all hotlines set up by trade unions in the province must stay open around the clock to deal with complaints from migrant workers about overdue wages.
To solve the problem of pay defaults, the trade union federation has proposed the following measures.
Trade unions should launch publicity campaigns to raise migrant workers’ legal awareness and to teach them to voice their demands in a rational way; educational activities should be held in railway stations, ports and squares and geared toward ordinary workers, migrant workers and impoverished workers, especially those from labor-intensive, small and medium-sized, and deficit-ridden enterprises; the campaigns should start before the Spring Festival travel rush. Meanwhile, trade unions should go to enterprises, residential communities, construction sites and villages to distribute leaflets to migrant workers and provide them with legal counseling.
To ensure that migrant workers receive their wages before the Spring Festival, trade unions should make their legal aid services to all migrant workers. If an employer is found to have defaulted on owed wages, trade unions should report to the authorities and see to it that defaulted payments are honored. Trade unions should encourage their own lawyers to provide convenient, rapid, excellent and effective legal services to migrant workers. As many migrant workers work far away home, trade unions should make sure that they get in touch with trade unions in their localities. To make it easy for migrant workers to apply for legal aid, trade unions should deliver their services to their doorsteps instead of waiting for them to come. To put it bluntly, trade unions should expand their legal services to townships, neighborhoods and small communities.
Trade unions should tighten supervision over labor law enforcement and team up with the government to inspect employers’ wage payments to migrant workers, focus their attention on construction sites, manufacturing and catering industries where migrant workers are concentrated and payment defaults are most likely to occur, strike hard on wage defaulting, step up checks on the employment practices of enterprises and keep their hotlines open 24 hours.