News Brief (October 22nd – October 28th, 2012)

Editors: Leo Liu, Bessie Zhang, Kevin Slaten

Strategist of the video “Press Conference of Workers Demanding Wages”: no one was charged for that video. (, Oct. 22) — A female migrant worker, calling herself “Miao Cui Hua”, imitated the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry and shot a video of her demanding wages, which triggered strong repercussions. Many internet users think that there must be “someone behind all this.” Yesterday, the strategist of the video appeared from behind the scene and told the story of the video. The strategist, calling himself Mr. Qi, is a freelance cameraman in Beijing. He said that the video was shot for public interest purposes and no one was charged anything for making that video.

A young man demanding wages talked out of jumping off the roof. (Sohu, Oct. 22) – At around 10am on the morning of October 21, a young man climbed to the top of a 30-story building which was under construction in Yintan residential compound in An’ning District and claimed that he was about to jump off the building. Local police and firemen arrived at the scene after they received the report and readied for a rescue. A worker, Mr. Ma, told the reporter that the construction company did not pay the wages of a few thousand RMB in time to the young man, who, in a moment of emotion, used this method to demand his wages.

New female migrant workers in Dongguan are mostly home birds. (Dongguan Times, Oct. 22) – In Dongguan, a city of manufacturing, there are three million new female migrant workers. They are far away from home and families and can be seen working hard around the city. Amid their seemingly peaceful life, they have many worries and pains that are not known by the outside world. They have no time to “recharge” themselves due to repetitive work. They easily become victims of fraud, use different methods to deal with problems, and have a monotonous life outside of work, presenting a tendency to become a stay-at-home type.

66% of workers in Xiamen are not satisfied with their salaries; number labor disputes rises by 25%. (, Oct. 22) – The academic forum “Establishing Harmonious Labor Relations” was opened in Xiamen. 2011 Xiamen Labor Relations Status Report was initially published. The report is the result of research of nearly a year by the Xiamen Labor Relations Status Task Force, which includes scholars and experts from Xiamen University and Jimei University and staff from the labor supervision department of MOHRSS. The report points out that the salaries of workers in labor-intense companies are generally low. Questionnaires from the city labor union show that only 13.7% of workers are satisfied with their income while 66.5% are not. The report also points out that the minimum wages is close to that of central and western China. The number of labor disputes last year rose by 25%.

A temporary dispatch worker’s wages deducted 30%? (Dongguan Times, Oct. 23) – 22-year-old Zhang Weifang faced difficulties in resigning from work the first time he came to Dongguan. He had to resign and go home due to a family emergency after only 40 days at work. However, he was told that 30% of his wages would be deducted because he resigned before the time agreed upon. With the help of our reporter and the local labor department, he received his wages of 1,350 RMB yesterday.

Guangdong plans to heavily fine wage arrear violations: employers in wages arrears will pay 50% to 100% more. (Tencent, Oct. 24) – Beginning yesterday, Provisions of Guangdong Labor Protection Supervision (Draft) was published on the website of Guangdong People’s Congress for public opinions. The Draft increases the amount of fines imposed on employers who are in wages arrears. Employers are not allowed to impose fines on workers or make deduction from workers’ wages; otherwise, employers shall be fined between 2,000 and 5,000 RMB per worker that is punished by that employer.

Migrant workers now have green path to claim their rights. (Tian Jin Daily, Oct. 25) – Beichen District Labor Union endeavor to establish three level service platforms consisting of district legal aid centers, town/community migrant workers’ rights protection stations, and company labor dispute mediation groups, which will provide a green path of legal aid, representation, and mediation to aid migrant workers in upholding their rights. Until now, 1053 labor dispute mediation committees have been established and 362 disputes have been heard. In the first half of the year, district legal aid centers have provided pro bono legal services 36 times and claimed close to 700,000 RMB for migrant workers.

MOHRSS responds to Foxconn’s use of student interns: abuse will be put to an end. (, Oct. 25) MOHRSS held a press conference today and introduced the third quarter report on progress in human resources and social security. Yin Chengji, the spokesperson, stated that the Labor Law of PRC and relevant laws prohibit the use of child labor and requires strict enforcement on such violations: companies found to have such violations will be heavily fined. Child labor is different from student interns, and the abuse of child labor shall be prohibited. In general, such abuse is rare in recent years and employers and schools are able to strictly follow the relevant regulations.

MOHRSS replied to rumor of individual social security payment rate, saying it will not adjust it lightly. (Tencent News, 2012/10/26) In regards to the public concern over income distribution, the spokesperson of MOHRSS (Ministry of Human Resource and Social Security) Yin Chengji said yesterday that, in accordance with the arrangement of the State Council, this scheme is expected to be carried out by the end of the year, including regulating subsidies of civil servants, reform of merit pay in public institutions, etc. Currently, these two reforms are on being promoted.

Labor contractor employing child labor illegally and causing work injury, and the company was found guilty, must compensate.(, 2012/10/26) The reporter learned from Chongqing Jiangji Court that Li Da Co., Ltd illegally subcontracted a labor service project to unqualified labor contractor Lu Wei. Lu Wei employed a child worker, Zhang Yue, who was under 16 years old. Later, Zhang Yue was injured and was identified as having Grade 9 disabilities. The court ruled the defendant Li Da Co., Ltd guilty and made them compensate the plaintiff Zhang Yue for all the medical fees as well as give Zhang a one-time payment of more than 60,000 RMB ($9,532).

Crime of refusing to pay labor remuneration: first suspect in Dongguan. (, 2012/10/26) Owing 130,000 RMB ($20,634) to workers, he ran away, leaving his wife and child behind. After escaping for 7 months, this small business owner was caught by local police in Wenzhou, when he was working for others there. This case was the first criminal case of refusal to pay labor remuneration in Dongguan. The trial was yesterday, and the complaint will be announced on another date.

A migrant worker beaten up for claiming wages, pushed down from third floor by the boss while calling for help. (Sina, 2012/10/26) Huangshangwang ( from Yulin today: “Seven or eight people hit us with iron bars, and we didn’t have any opportunity to hit back.” Four migrant workers from Sinan county, Guizhou Province recalled the scene occurring in the afternoon of 14th, still in a state of shock. Afraid of being injured, when the migrant worker Peng Shiya anxiously climbed onto a window sill calling ‘help’ loudly, a site supervisor from Shenmu County pushed him down from the third floor. He suffered injuries all over his body.

Labor rights protection: does student intern who gets injured during an internship suffer a work injury? (Sina Henan, 2012/10/27) If college students get injured during the internship, will work injury compensation be applicable? Can a company publicly expel employees? Is it required to pay the double wages to those who do not sign written labor contracts? In regards to these controversial issues, yesterday morning, the judges expressed their personal opinions at the Provincial Court Labor Right Protection Trial Pilot Program Work Symposium.

Ningbo downtown, more than one thousand people gather to protest extension of a chemical plant on October 27th. ( 2012/10/27) In downtown Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, more than one thousand people gathered on the morning of 27th, protesting the plan of expanding a chemical plant of a subsidiary company of Sinopec in Zhenhai District. The police took away some of the crowd, forcing them into cars, while the other people shouted slogans, demanding their release. Some people wore masks and held high the slogans against the chemical project. According to Zhenhai local government, some people have been illegally gathering recently, some overturning police cars and other cars, and some others besieging Zhaobaoshan police station, throwing stones at the police, leading to the injury of several police officers. The police acted under orders to disperse the gathering and to restore the order of transportation.

The introduction of Wage Regulations is beyond hope, aborted under the objection of monopolized industries. (, 2012/10/27) On October 17, State Council Premiere Wen Jiabao chaired an executive meeting of the State Council. When talking about the reform of income distribution, he said the general plan of income distribution system reform would be implemented in the fourth quarter. It was discovered that the general plan is an outline and not as concrete as some on the outside expected. However, in regards to the public attention on income distribution in the monopolized industries, that plan will reflect some aspects. It is known that Wage Regulations, which garnered much attention previously, was aborted, but some of its content will be integrated into the general plan of reform for income distribution.

An old man in Laiwu changing work places, social security deposit of eight years disappears. (Sohu, 2012/10/28) Mr. Yang came to Laiwu from Heilongjiang province on 1994. At that time, he took care of the relevant procedures to transfer his social security payments from eight years of work in Heilongjiang to Laiwu Laicheng District’s Human Labor Department and started a peaceful life in Laiwu. He deposited his social security through his company. However, in this June, when he checked with Leicheng District Social Security Section, the past deposit he thought had been transferred could not be found. The procedures and receipts were all there, but no money was in the account. Several days after the reporter went to the Laiwu Department of Labor with Mr. Yang, the staff informed him that the deposit was found and confirmed. Old Mr. Yang was now relieved.

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