Senior labour officials in Guangdong are urging the central government to make it a crime for bosses to close their factories and flee without paying workers’ wages. Provincial officials will submit a proposal for a new criminal law to the National People’s Congress next year in bid to deter bosses from skipping town.

During September and October, in Dongguan alone, 117 factories closed leaving 20,000 workers without wages, and the local government to pick up the bill. Local government officials are clearly angry and understandably want to punish the guilty, but the bosses who cut and run are just the most extreme example of managerial malpractice. Bosses routinely cheat workers out their wages and lay employees off without proper compensation, and most stay exactly where they are with little or no consequences. Local governments should focus more helping workers seek redress through existing administrative channels rather than just bringing runaway bosses to justice. continue reading

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