China’s Construction Workers: Abused and Unpaid – Businessweek

China’s millions of migrant construction workers are building the country’s new highways, stadiums, shopping malls, and rail lines. They often get little in return—sometimes not even their paychecks.

Migrant workers in Beijing

A new survey of 4,329 construction workers by two Chinese nonprofits, the Beijing Practitioner Cultural Development & Research Center for Migrant Workers and iLabor, found that only 5 percent of migrant laborers are offered work contracts. Most take ad hoc jobs, relying on the word of site managers about when and how much they will be paid. The survey documented at least 138 cases over seven years of companies failing to pay any workers on a site.

Zhang Kejian has worked as a construction laborer for 14 years. Every year he has been on the job, he’s had to contend with late or unpaid wages, as he told Caixin magazine. “I hope our society can be aware of what we’re going through,” he said, “and help us with a contract instead of making us slaves of our bosses.”

via China’s Construction Workers: Abused and Unpaid – Businessweek.

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