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26 Feb 2020


China: Huo Shen Shan Hospital accused of wage arrears and not providing enough masks; state media says workers give up salaries voluntarily

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[Excerpt translation from Chinese to English provided by Business and Human Rights Resource Centre]

“Huo Shen Shan Hospital accused of wage arrears and not providing enough face masks; state media: workers give up salaries voluntarily”, 19 February 2020

… Huo Shen Shan Hospital was built in 10 days to treat coronavirus pneumonia patients in Wuhan and started operating on 4 February…

The quality of the construction work of Huo Shen Shan Hospital has raised widespread concerns. Besides, there are rumours claiming that construction workers suffer from wage arrears and inadequate provision of masks, resources and drinking water. According to a report published by Farmers’ Daily, which has been removed, the salary payments of more than ten migrant workers have been delayed.

A reporter from Farmers’ Daily visited the temporary construction site outside Huo Shen Shan Hospital. Some workers told the reporter that they were recruited through contractors and their salaries were to be calculated on a daily basis… A worker called Tang Bin said that the contractor did not pay any salary after the first day of work, and the problem had remained for 3 days.

Workers also said that according to the epidemic prevention regulations, their face masks should be changed every 4 hours, but they were only given one mask and one bottle of mineral water per day. Tang therefore needed to buy water for himself. However, apart from these allegations, workers’ food and accommodation were guaranteed.

After the Farmers’ Daily article was removed, netizens discovered on social platforms that many people have re-posted from someone who has learnt from his friends that many construction workers at Huo Shen Shan Hospital “insisted on not getting any wages”. These workers claimed that Wuhan is now experiencing a hard time and they would like to do something that they are capable of. The provision of food and drinks at the construction sites was enough. In their response, China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., the contractor of Huo Shen Shan Hospital, said that there were no wage arrears and wages were given to outsourcers and contractors in advance. They said that they were looking into and clarifying the issue…

A representative at China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co. told Jian Kang Shi Bao that some workers did not get their wages, but some were volunteers who left without getting any payment and leaving any contact details.