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GDP Rises While Chinese Migrant Workers Aren’t Paid

Nanfang Daily published a commentary on migrant workers whose wages had not been paid due to local governments’ drive to increase GDP. The commentary reported that the Ministry of Railways recently obtained 250 billion RMB to use before the 2012 Chinese New Year (January 23, 2012) to pay off the unpaid wages owed to migrant workers for the work they had done on railroad construction. “The reason why migrant workers are not paid on time for their work is because the government [rather than the contractors that directly employ the migrant workers] fails to make payments. A number of local governments have no budget. Nevertheless, driven by their political need to show that their performance contributes to a rising GDP, they have blindly ordered new starts on projects. They are thus, at the outset, inevitably short of funds to pay migrant workers’ wages.” The article cited examples. One was of a migrant worker in Xinjiang. It took that worker 27 years before he was able to collect unpaid wages of 5,000 RMB from a local government. Another example was migrant workers on the government’s landscape project in Guangdong. They had been working for over a year without receiving any wages at all.

Source: Nanfang Daily, January 21, 2012