Central provinces are now the focus of worker activism in China
After working on a construction site in Bozhou, Anhui for two months, a group of migrant workers from Sichuan and Guizhou had only been paid 400 yuan and were desperate to get their salary in full before the New Year.
The workers had contacted their subcontractors and the construction company, but none were able to resolve the problem. One of their subcontractors offered them 1,700 yuan each but another subcontractor said he could pay nothing until he received money from the main contractor.
Journalists visiting the site that the workers’ dormitory had an electric light but no heating. For two months in the midst of winter, workers could only warm themselves by burning firewood. Some workers had already bought train tickets to go back home but said they would have to return them if they did not get paid in full.
A group of construction workers held banners in front of the highway bureau in Xinyang, Henan, on 12 February demanding long-overdue payment of wages. The workers had been responsible for the government’s high-profile “Rainbow Bridge” repair project but, more than a half a year after the project had been completed, they had still not been paid.
Xinyang’s “Rainbow Bridge” had been badly damaged by increased traffic. It was also a vital part of the city’s infrastructure, providing a route for heavy trucks transporting construction materials daily. With increasing concern being voiced over the bridge’s safety, the municipal government announced the repair project in 2016.
Workers protesting outside the Highway Bureau urged the government to pay them before the New Year so that they could return home to their families for the holiday.