A migrant worker from Hubei province who suffered severe head injuries in a fight over back pay is suing his contractor for compensation. Xiang Guanghui said he had sought help from a Tianjin law firm to seek compensation from contractor Hu Fangyu, who Mr Xiang alleged instigated the beating last December. 'My first priority is to seek compensation for surgery for my fractured skull,' Mr Xiang said from Tianjin yesterday. 'And I also demand payment of the 10,000 yuan in wages I am owed.' Mr Xiang said he needed at least 60,000 yuan for a second operation to rebuild his forehead. The 37-year-old went to meet Mr Hu with about a dozen fellow migrant workers from Hubei at a construction site in Tianjin last Christmas, to demand their back pay. A fight broke out between the group and other workers - mostly from Jiangsu province - and Mr Xiang suffered severe injuries to his head. Repeated attempts to contact Mr Hu were unsuccessful yesterday. Witness Guo Guojiang said yesterday Mr Xiang was badly beaten by the Jiangsu workers. He said he saw two men beating Mr Xiang with iron rods. 'Xiang was a schoolteacher and he didn't know how to fight back, although he was holding a wooden log,' Mr Guo said. 'I saw blood dripping from his head and then he just fell on the ground.' Mr Guo said the fight broke out after the contractor refused to pay the Hubei workers. Mr Xiang was sent to Tianjin Armed Police Hospital and doctors removed broken bones from his skull to prevent them from damaging cranial nerves. The operation was paid for by Mr Hu but Mr Xiang had to check out of the hospital on March 31 after the contractor refused to pay for surgery needed to rebuild his forehead. Jiang Zhongliang , the main contractor at the construction site, said police had released all suspects involved in Mr Xiang's case. 'This is because Mr Xiang's team leader has struck a deal with Mr Hu. The problem [of back pay] has been resolved,' said Mr Jiang. Nevertheless, Mr Xiang said he would not accept the deal because he had not given his consent to the agreement. Ye Jingyi , a labour expert from the Peking University Law Faculty, said the incident should not have happened as central government leaders have repeatedly urged local governments to ensure migrant workers are paid on time. Top leaders including Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan have repeatedly said contractors must pay migrant workers on time - typically once a year before Lunar New Year. 'The central government has issued related rules to protect migrant workers' interests. I think Mr Xiang's case could be resolved through judicial channels,' said Professor Ye.