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Gangnam dance sparks action on wages

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

09:25, January 23, 2013

Every year, with the approach of Spring Festival, there seem to be battles between migrant workers and their bosses concerning unpaid wages.

They often seem to involve outraged workers storming office buildings and triggering brawls but, this year, a group of construction workers in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, chose a more peaceful way - they danced Gangnam Style.

Headed by their team leader surnamed Lu, the group were seen dancing in front of a music club in the city's Dongxihu District, attracting a crowd of passers-by, yesterday's Wuhan Evening News reported.

"As the Spring Festival is coming, the workers all want to go back home. They ask for money from me every day," Lu said.

To lessen their anger and frustration, Lu paid the workers more than 10,000 yuan out of his own pocket, but the boss was refusing to answer his phone or repay him the money, he said.

He said he decided to lead the workers in the popular dance to attract media attention.

The company owed 40 workers a total of 233,000 yuan (US$37,423), the paper reported.

A 61-year-old worker surnamed Zeng said he was owed 20,000 yuan in wages. Another one surnamed Luo said he was still waiting for wages of up to 9,000 yuan to cover the education expenses of his three children.

"If I fail to get the money, I can't go back to my hometown to celebrate the Spring Festival, and my children will be unable to go to school," Luo said.

Their boss said the entertainment management company which contracted the building project hadn't paid as promised when the project was completed in November.

However, the company claimed the construction had quality problems and said the builder had refused to carry out repairs.

After the dance performance, a manager surnamed Xiao said: "I will call the quality supervision authority to check. If the building passes the check, I will pay all of the money."

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