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Spring Festival is usually the only time of the year when Chinese migrant workers are able to meet their families. But many have had to postpone their vacations back home because they haven't got their wages. With the Spring Festival just around the corner, we meet one migrant worker who is anxiously waiting to get his hard earned money.
Zhong Xiao, from Sichuan Province has been a plaster worker in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region for five years. In September 2011, he joined a villa project run by the Ningxia Hetai Construction company with a bunch of fellow workers. The project was finished in May of last year, which was when Zhong Xiao was supposed to get his salary. But he wasn’t given it. In fact, few got their full wages.
Zhong Xiao, migrant worker, said, "They paid us less than half of our salaries for a year’s work. We did all the work last year, we want our salaries, but they don’t pay us. We have to wait here until they pay us. The Spring Festival is coming, but we have to wait here in such cold weather."
Most workers have already left for home to save on expenses. Zhong Xiao has stayed behind in Yinchuan City as a representative of plaster workers and dozens of other migrants who also worked on the villa project.
Gu Daiguo, migrant worker, said, "Roof levelling workers haven’t been paid yet. Tiling workers got 80% of their salary for work they did in 2011, and nothing for the work they did by the end of May last year. We haven’t gotten paid until now. We have no choice but to wait."
Huang Feng, migrant worker, said, "The roof gutters were done by us. They owe us about 300 thousand yuan in unpaid wages."
All they want is to get paid what they are owed, and then head home. But it’s proving really difficult, forcing them to seek help from local authorities.
He Qi, supervisor of Yinchuan Labor Security Department, said, "We’ll deal with the case based on the procedures of the Labor Inspection Regulation. If evidence proves that the construction organization owes salaries to these workers, we’ll hand the case to the police."
An investigation is underway for the case involving Zhong Xiao and his co-workers. Now all they can do is wait. The hardest part has been telling their families that it’s impossible to known which day they will be home for the holidays.