BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Nationwide law enforcement departments helped 6.22 million workers collect about 20 billion yuan (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) in delayed wages in 2012, Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said on Friday.
Migrant workers are most vulnerable to wage delays.
Twelve ministry-level departments, including Yin's ministry, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, held a teleconference on Friday during which they asked grassroots authorities to improve handling of labor disputes to ensure the country's 250 million migrants receive the wages that they are due before Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 10 this year.
Yin said wage delays have extended to wider export-oriented sectors, including the shipbuilding and textile industries, as the country's economy has seen slower growth.
"Labor-intensive companies are seeing an increase in the number of wage delay cases," he said.
More than 220,000 wage-related labor disputes were reported nationwide in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 12.7 percent, Yin said.
Wage delays resulted in 190 mass incidents involving more than 100 people each in the first 11 months in 2012, a 21 percent increase compared with the same period in 2011, Yin said.
The minister promised strengthened supervision and higher efficiency to deal with wage delays.
Thorough inspections will be carried out in migrant-intensive industries and in enterprises where wage delays once happened, he said.
Smoother reporting methods such as hotlines will be used to ensure that migrants' requests are heard in time, he said.