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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Road workers lay siege to office over unpaid wages

By Wang Qingchu (Shanghai Daily)

09:03, January 21, 2012

HUNDREDS of migrant workers besieged a highway construction firm's office in central China's Hubei Province, demanding 200 million yuan (US$32 million) in unpaid wages.

The Wujing Highway Development Co Ltd, developer of the Wujing Highway, has debts of 600 million yuan - including unpaid wages dating back to 2009, the Economic Information Daily reported yesterday.

Frustrated migrant workers blockaded its office in Zhong-xiang City earlier this month in a bid to get their money.

But a company official said no payments would be made.

Tan Bing, a 43-year-old migrant worker with a family of six to support, said he visited the developer dozens of times but had failed to get a penny.

"I've come here so often that I'm sure the stone lion statues in front of the building recognize me," said Tan. "I daren't make a phone call home because I didn't get the 20,000 yuan I'm owed."

Another construction worker Yang Shangping, who says he is owed 34,000 yuan, had to sell his blood last autumn to raise cash, after his wife was hospitalized, the report said.

Yet despite Wujing Highway Development's financial difficulties, officials appear to be enjoying a lavish lifestyle, reported the newspaper.

"The company rents high-end office, its officials drive BMWs and they are developing projects in other regions," a worker told the newspaper.

Qi Yusheng, a deputy general manager with the company, said it wouldn't be able to pay workers, even after the Chinese New Year.

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