New online platform set up to ensure timely payments
An online real name registration platform for migrant construction workers to digitally record their working information was announced on May 11 in a bid to better protect their rights during labor disputes.
The establishment of the system was officially announced by the China Construction Industry Association during a national labor employment symposium held in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.
The platform will record information concerning construction workers' working hours, salary and health status, which will be used as evidence by related government supervisory and law enforcement departments in labor disputes, according to the report.
This information will be shared with banks so construction firms can entrust financial institutions with accurate payment amount for their workers, cutting out the middlemen who have often been behind back pay issues, the report said.
The system can also generate electronic resumes for workers containing their skills, salary rates and daily performance, which may help migrant workers to find suitable jobs.
To date, a total of 985 construction projects have been registered online, covering more than 340,000 workers employed by 2,428 construction companies, according to data cited in the People's Daily report.
The platform was first tested during the construction of the Hubei Science and Technology Museum in May 2016, with more than 1,300 workers signing up to the platform.
According to Du Yongkui, executive general manager of the project, there were no back pay problems among the involved workers last year and the project has facilitated the payment of 9.41 million yuan (.3 million) to workers.
The platform was established after a circular issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, in February urged relevant departments to build up "a real-name construction worker management system, recording their identity information, training status, professional skills, and employment history."
To better protect workers' rights, the decree requires that by 2020, all migrant workers should be covered by labor contracts before starting work, and enterprises that withhold wages should be blacklisted and severely punished.
Shi Fumao, director of a legal aid organization for migrant workers, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "so far there has been no cases citing data from such a real-name system in labor disputes."
The registration system is an innovative move to deploy big data and the Internet to better protect construction workers' interests, Shi said, warning that it could become a futile exercise if it only covers a small part of workers hired by companies with good reputation in big cities rather than a full coverage, due to a shortage of supervision resources in the government.
Shi suggested building up a "labor police force" instead of the current labor inspectors, because the current inspection team is small and has limited enforcement power, which is not enough to cover all the established laws and regulations even after this new system is put in place.