Minimum wages rise by average of 22pc

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2011, 12:00am


The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security says 24 provincial or regional governments have raised minimum wages by an average of 22 per cent this year amid official concerns over social unrest stemming from mounting labour disputes.

Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin also told a national conference yesterday law enforcement departments had helped recoup a total of 2.94 billion yuan (HK$3 billion) in back pay for 1.29 million migrant workers this year.

Waves of strikes sparked by pay and compensation disputes have hit the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River regions in the past year.

The ministry, along with eight other central government agencies, including the Ministry of Public Security, launched a crackdown targeting back pay for migrant workers this month, which set a January 23 deadline, Lunar New Year's Day, for the settlement of most back-pay disputes involving migrant workers.

However, Qiu Xiaoping, a Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security department head in charge of labour issues, admitted in an interview with Xinhua on Monday that addressing the back-pay problem would be difficult because of the layers of subcontractors who employed migrant workers, and a lack of legal leverage against rogue bosses.

Ma Yang, director of China On Action, a workers' rights advocacy group, said mainland workers were more inclined to unite in pushing for their rights because they were more educated and more aware.