Guangdong's top leader has urged the public to treat the province's millions of migrant workers well, adding that 100,000 of them might be entitled to city residency this year. Wang Yang, the provincial secretary of the Communist Party, invited 100 young migrants to its provincial headquarters in Guangzhou on Saturday. He treated them to a 90-minute movie about how five female workers in Dongguan, a major production hub, had overcome challenges in their careers, experienced love and illnesses and eventually reached their goals, the Nanfang Daily reported yesterday. 'By doing so, I want to deliver to the whole society a message that we should show our respect and gratitude to, and take good care of, migrant workers,' the paper quoted Wang as saying. He said the contribution made by migrant workers was indispensable to Guangdong's economic success. 'If there were no migrants, urbanites would hardly have water to drink, food to eat or have their rubbish removed, not to mention the industrialisation and modernisation of the province.' At the end of last year, Guangdong's Labour Department said the province was a temporary home for some 26 million migrants, accounting for one-third of the total across the country. Wang went on to praise the attendees and their fellow workers, calling them a crucial army that made great contributions to the development of Guangdong and the building up of a well-off society. He shared his own experience with the attendees, who were mostly in their 20s or 30s: 'When I was 17, I used to be a worker making a salary of 17.5 yuan [HK$20] a month. I've plenty of experience in swinging a hammer, sleeping on the ground and working overnight. What I dreamt of then was merely a bit of a pay rise.' Wang, a political high-flyer known for his populist touch, made the remarks amid a wave of labour disputes that has hit the Pearl River Delta - the mainland's traditional manufacturing centre - since mid-May. A series of strikes, mainly in Taiwanese and Japanese companies, broke out, with employees - mostly young migrant workers - demanding better pay and improved work conditions. A few multi-national companies, notably Honda, have made concessions and offered significant pay rises to curb the strikes. The central government, worried the strikes would spin out of control and spread further, made a similar appeal earlier this year in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions between workers and management. Premier Wen Jiabao, speaking with about 50 young migrant workers before the Dragon Boat Festival in June, called for better treatment of the country's vast army of migrant workers, and praised their contribution to the booming economy. 'Our society's wealth and the skyscrapers are all distillations of your hard work and sweat. Your labour is glorious and should be respected by society at large,' Wen was quoted by Xinhua as saying at the time, calling for the government and the public to treat young migrant workers 'like your own children'.