Delta cities to target rogue factory owners

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am

Pearl River Delta cities will jointly crack down on employers not paying workers on time or not buying work-related insurance for their employees, a Shenzhen official said yesterday.

Delays in salary payments had become the biggest source of labour disputes across the delta region in recent years, Shenzhen Labour and Social Security Bureau vice-director Yuan Jianyong said.

Many employers, including those from Hong Kong, had deliberately withheld salaries for months to stop workers switching jobs.

Some small-scale factories even used this method to cheat workers of their salaries by shutting down their operations after a few months and moving to a neighbouring city, leaving employees without pay or compensation.

Failing to buy workplace insurance was also common, said Mr Yuan.

Such abusive treatment has given the delta region a bad name and caused social unrest, as disgruntled workers often vent their anger on local governments.

Several high-profile protests in Shenzhen recently were sparked by delayed salaries - including a protest last month when hundreds of workers at a Japanese factory demonstrated after the management suddenly closed down the business without offering any compensation.

Mr Yuan said the crackdown on delayed salary payments would be the top priority for his bureau in the coming year. Labour authorities in more than 10 delta cities had agreed to a joint crackdown.

'In the past, some dishonest employers could exploit loopholes by relocating their businesses to other cities. Now we will take joint action. If you fail to meet labour regulations in one city, you will be blacklisted by other cities as well,' he said.

Mr Yuan said the push could be expanded to other parts of Guangdong later if it was successful in the delta.

'We will make it difficult for [dishonest bosses] to escape their responsibility and give better protection to our workers,' he said.