China urges local authorities to settle wage arrears before Lunar New Year: report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has issued a notice to local authorities urging them to pay migrant workers in a timely fashion ahead of the country's annual Lunar New Year, the official People's Daily newspaper reported on Friday.

The notice, issued by 12 government departments including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, also said that wages owed to workers for their work on government infrastructure projects had to be paid before the end of 2017, the newspaper said.

"All localities....should step up efforts to reduce potential cases of wages arrears, establish a system to settle owed wages, and not write off the problem if it's not solved," it said.

China often sees a rise in the number of strikes in the run up to the Lunar New Year, a holiday which sees millions of workers criss-cross the country for what is often their sole trip home for the year.

The country's unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in many years, but the government has warned that about half a million workers in the coal and steel sectors would need to be resettled as those industries face capacity cuts.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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