Hundreds of migrant workers in Dingyuan county of Anhui province blocked a main road on Sunday during a protest as they sought to receive their unpaid salaries ahead of the Spring Festival.
Money disputes between migrant workers and their employers is common in China, and workers who feel they’ve been exploited will go to extreme lengths to draw awareness to their plights.
Last November in Suzhou, Anhui, a dozen or so migrant workers climbed up onto the roof of a building and threatened to jump off unless their boss paid them the 330,000 RMB in wages they were owed.
A month later, a migrant worker demanding wages owed to him by the government protested by drinking pesticide in Yunnan. Upon seeing the public display, the vice-mayor of the county reportedly laughed and suggested that ‘if all the petitioners did the same thing and died then things would be easier.’
Chinese media have called on the government to implement laws and regulations that would better protect the rights of vulnerable groups and workers like these. Xinhua reported this week that migrant workers will soon be allowed to obtain permanent residency permits, allowing them access to benefits enjoyed be local residents.