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Workers of foreign invested firms get wrong end of stick
Apr '11
Factors like less salary and stressful work environment are driving several workers working in the foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in Vietnam to either shift jobs or to strike.

Tran Dinh Thien, Head of the Vietnam Economic Institute recently while addressing a meeting held in Hanoi to discuss the country's 2010-2020 development strategy, stated that, the blue-collar workers in these FIEs were least paid, as compared to workers in other companies of the state or those in private sector of the country.

The blue-collar workers in these FIEs' on an average draw a monthly salary of VND 1.2 million or $60. This is the case particularly with the workers employed in labour-intensive industries like leather and footwear, garment and textile and wood processing, he said.

He further added that, even to earn this meager salary the workers often need to work under heavy pressure and give in extra hours.

Further, he even gave a reference of the data released by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labours Worker and Trade Union Institute indicating that, just 52 percent of the workers in FIEs worked for eight hours a day, while some 6.5 percent worked for more than 10 hours per day.

The government has clarified the salary grade issues, but still many FIEs still have around 30 to 40 different pay grades. Also, at times the gap between two consecutive pay grades is just VND10,000 that is $0.5.

Mai Duc Chinh, Vice Head of Vietnam General Confederation of Labour said that, today when the market prices are continuously going high, such a small gap is quite insignificant for workers.

As per the country's labour legislations, the workers are eligible for a minimum salary rise after every two years. However, as revealed by the statistics, more than 20 percent of the FIEs' workers don't get such a rise, while other benefits like bonus, social insurance package and extra pay too go undecided.

According to Thien, FIEs' failure in signing labour contracts with workers, paying their insurance premiums and other allowances are greatly responsible for workers disagreements and strikes.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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