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Govt makes move to defuse labor disputes

BEIJING–Chinese authorities announced Wednesday that the country will create improved channels over the next few years to handle increasing labor disputes.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Wednesday that China will set up institutionalized arbitration offices for handling labor disputes and make them generally available in county-level regions by 2015.

A document posted on the ministry's website said social disputes have emerged as a particularly acute problem in China, as clashes are occurring more frequently and flaws exist in the country's social management.

The task of addressing labor disputes has become increasingly demanding because of these problems, the document said.

Chinese authorities attach great importance to building harmonious relationships between workers and employers and have called for greater efforts to reduce conflicts in the labor sector, the document said.

Disputes arising from wage delays are still a problem, especially for migrant workers from rural areas, where some companies fail to sign formal labor contracts with workers. According to preliminary figures from the ministry, at least 14,000 companies had delayed salary payments to migrant workers as of Jan. 13, 2012.

The document said it is imperative for the country to improve the construction and coverage of forces dedicated to the coordination and arbitration of labor disputes.

It also noted that these forces should be institutionalized, as well as highly efficient, convenient and fair in addressing social disputes.

According to government data, institutionalized arbitration facilities cover only 60 percent of the nation's municipal-level regions and only 40 percent of the nation's counties.

Some of these facilities lack standardization, staff, funding and offices for conducting their work, preventing them from effectively solving labor disputes, according to a ministry official.

China's State Council, or cabinet, last week issued a plan to boost employment during the 2011-2015 period. According to the plan, government authorities will work to spur employment while improving regulations to protect workers' rights and benefits. – Xinhua

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