1000’s of staff staged practically 30 strikes all through Vietnam forward of and over the Lunar New 12 months celebration, demanding increased wages and different advantages, the Vietnam Common Confederation of Labor (VGCL) stated Wednesday.
The vacation often called Tet is an important competition in Vietnamese tradition. It fell on Feb. 1 this 12 months. VGCL, Vietnam’s predominant commerce union, stated companies and factories closed for 9 days, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6, to rejoice.
Staff in Vietnam usually obtain a vacation bonus and pay raises for the brand new 12 months earlier than Tet. But when they don’t seem to be pleased with the modest bonus and new wage, they submit their grievances on social media or take to the streets waging strikes.
The 28 strikes came about in 12 provinces, together with Thai Binh, Ninh Binh, Bac Ninh and Nghe An, from Jan. 1 to early February, the VGCL stated.
Moreover searching for increased pay, staff demanded extra allowances for meals and gas and new advantages like seniority pay and assist for staff who’ve contracted the COVID-19 virus.
Some staff returned to their jobs after employers met at the very least a couple of of their calls for.
For instance, workers at Viet Glory Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese-owned footwear producer in central Vietnam’s Nghe An province, returned to work this week after the corporate agreed to provide its 5,000-strong workforce a 6 p.c wage improve and additional pay for long-term staff.
However in different instances, firm managers solely made comparatively minor concessions whereas placing larger calls for like pay raises on maintain. VGCL stated that corporations ought to clearly clarify to workers why they don’t seem to be capable of meet particular calls for.
A employee at an attire manufacturing facility in central Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province advised RFA that almost all laborers had been placing for increased pay. Employers have used the hostile financial impression from COVID to justify not growing wage ranges.
“Firms usually improve their base wage at first of a 12 months,” stated the lady, who works for South Korea-owned Haivina Hai Duong Co., Ltd. “Nevertheless, I heard that because of the epidemic, no corporations have given a pay rise to their staff, and so they have solely met a few of staff’ calls for, not all.”
A second Haivina employee, who additionally declined to provide her title in order to talk freely, stated the Viet Glory strike had impressed and inspired workers elsewhere to face up, although it was unlikely that the strikes had been coordinated.
“The employees did it spontaneously,” she stated. “They didn’t contact one another.”
Almost all the businesses advised placing staff they didn’t improve pay as a result of they had been already paying wages increased than regional minimal wages stipulated by regulation.
Vietnam’s labor legal guidelines permit corporations to make their very own selections relating to extra allowances. However some staff advised RFA that the bottom salaries set by Vietnam’s labor legal guidelines are too low, notably as the price of meals and different necessities have elevated.
On common, most manufacturing facility laborers earn about 6 million dong (U.S. $256) a month with little or no pay differential for extra time work, staff stated.
“We went on strike in hopes of getting a pay increase as our present wage is simply too low,” stated the second Haivina employee. “Despite the fact that we take night time shifts, we solely can earn 7 million dong a month.”
Vietnam units 4 regional wage ranges, with the best minimal wage at 4.2 million dong a month and the bottom at about 3 million dong a month. The bottom wage for staff in Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces is 3.4 million dong a month.
Staff at factories in Nghe An province staged at the very least three strikes following the Tet vacation week.
Greater than 1,700 staff at a manufacturing facility run by Em-Tech Vietnam Co., Ltd., in central Vietnam’s Nghe An province who went on strike on Tuesday resumed work the next day after the corporate agreed to pay every worker 50,000 dong (U.S. $2) for COVID-19 virus testing assist. The corporate additionally pledged to enhance meal allowances and virus preventive measures subsequent month, in accordance with authorities laws.
Not everybody was happy in regards to the consequence as a result of the corporate didn’t comply with any wage will increase.
“In the event that they don’t give us a pay increase, they need to inform us why,” stated a manufacturing facility employee. “They haven’t given any explanations to date.”
“Though the pay increase situation has not been resolved, we nonetheless need to get again to work; in any other case, we shall be fired,” she added.
Additionally on Wednesday, about 700 staff from Nam Thuan Nghe An Joint Inventory Firm, an attire and garment maker and exporter, returned to work after a one-day strike. Different workers remained off the job as a result of they weren’t glad with the corporate’s response to their calls for.
Staff requested managers to handle 14 points, together with unequal pay will increase, a small gasoline allowance and unreasonable wage reductions.
‘Labor union is ineffective’
Some commerce union activists expressed frustration not solely at their employer however with VGCL and its regional branches, which they don’t assume have fought arduous sufficient for employee pursuits.
The primary employee at Haivina stated she has all the time paid her month-to-month labor union price, though the labor group has not been an efficient ally.
“Over the last strike, the provincial labor union got here to barter with the corporate however to no avail,” she stated. “Our labor union hasn’t resolved something. I don’t learn about different corporations, however at this firm the labor union is ineffective.”
Bui Thien Tri, chairman of the Vietnam Impartial Union, a nonprofit group that goals to enhance staff’ rights, advised RFA through e mail that the employees themselves stay their greatest advocates.
“Virtually all of the strikes in Vietnam to date have been spontaneous and never led by labor unions that are grassroots-level representatives of the Vietnam Common Confederation of Labor,” he stated.
“This exhibits the very small function of presidency commerce unions in representing staff’ rights on the grassroots stage, in addition to the irresponsibility of presidency commerce union leaders in not fulfilling their duty whereas nonetheless being paid by the employees’ contributions,” Tri stated.
Vietnam’s new labor regulation that went into impact on Jan. 1, 2021, permits the creation of employee organizations not affiliated with the VGCL. However the lack of extra authorities steerage has meant staff have but to determine their very own consultant organizations.
District and provincial branches of the federal government labor union don’t intervene in employee calls for till strikes happen, at which stage they act along with native authorities officers and police to resolve the battle and get staff again on the job as quickly as attainable, Tri stated.
“They attribute the strikes to the grassroots-level labor unions being new and inexperienced, even non-existent in some corporations, so staff have nowhere to show,” he stated.
Translated by Chau Vu for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.