Vietnam Labour Update #91

Ngày đăng: 28/12/2020

Gas leak at Fine Eleccom Vina hospitalises 4 workers: As reported in Viet Nam Net (Vietnamese), at around 18:45 on December 19, a worker at this Korean-owned electronics factory (located in Song Khe-Noi Hoang Industrial Zone, Yen Dung district, Bac Giang province, in northeast Vietnam) discovered a gas leak in one part of the factory. Another worker and a Korean manager came to investigate but were unable to stop the leak. After inhaling significant amounts of the gas, all three, along with another worker who had been in the parking area near the leak, were taken to the Bac Giang province general hospital. Authorities, including the industrial zone management board, the Department of Industry and Trade, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, investigated and requested that the company fix the problem.

Workers at HV Viet Nam owed months of wages and social security contributions: Phap Luat Online (Vietnamese) reports that workers at this company (located in Phu Nhuan district, Ho Chi Minh City) are owed significant amounts of money. One worker tells the paper that she was not paid from the middle of 2019 until March 2020. She then quit her job, thinking that that would force the company to settle all monies owed, but it did not. She is owed 110 million dong in wage arrears, and social security payments on top of that. Another worker says he started working at the company in August 2019, but quit in January 2020 having only been paid one month's wages in all that time. Workers are facing significant hardships due to the unpaid wages and social security contributions. They say the company has promised to settle payments many times, but has not done so. The General Manager of the company tells the newspaper that the company is facing financial hardships, which have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and hopes that workers sympathise and allow them more time to settle the payments. On October 1, a mediation meeting between DOLISA, the VGCL, Social Security, and the company failed to produce an agreement, as workers demanded that the company pay all monies owed immediately, but the company wanted until the end of the year. Consequently, the VGCL is helping workers launch legal proceedings against their employer, to force them to pay.

27 COXANCO workers successfully sue over unpaid wages and social security contributions: From April 2014 to the end of June 2020, the Thua Thien Hue Started Construction Traffic-Irrigation Joint Stock Company (COXANCO, based in Hue, the capital of Thua Thien-Hue province in central Vietnam) had refused to pay full wages and social security contributions to its employees. As reported in Lao Dong (Vietnamese), from April 2018 to June 2019, the company also fired a number of workers, but still did not pay them the wages and social security payments they were owed. As of June 25, 2019, the company owed wages totalling 995.5 million dong to 27 workers, and social security contributions of 1.7 billion dong to 25 workers. Given this situation, workers asked the Thua Thien-Hue provincial Union of Agriculture and Rural Development Workers (part of the VGCL) to sue the company. The union did so, and the Hue City People's Court has now ruled that COXANCO must pay all owed wages and social security contributions.

Labour export companies fined: As reported in Lao Dong (Vietnamese), MOLISA has recently fined a number of companies for labour export violations. TRAENCO International has been fined 125 million dong, while PTC has been fined 120 million dong. These fines are for administrative violations, such as not properly informing authorities of which workers were sent abroad, of the fees paid by workers, and the companies' addresses. A third company, Hue Tuan, has been fined 400 million dong for taking advantage of its position to take money from workers wishing to work in Poland, and not repaying them when they were unable to go abroad. It then tried to hide these violations. The company has been banned from labour export activities for 12 months, from November 27.

Report on the socio-economic situation in quarter IV and 2020: This reported has just been released by the General Statistics Office (Vietnamese), and is summarised in an article in Dan Sinh (Vietnamese). Labour productivity has reached 117.9 million dong per worker in current prices, a rise of 5.4% compared to 2019. There are 53.4 million people over the age of 15 in work: 17.5 million work in agriculture and fisheries, a decline of 7.2% compared to 2019; 16.5 million in industry and construction, a 0.3% rise compared to 2019; and 19.4 million in the service sector, a rise of 0.1%. The 2020 unemployment rate is 2.26%; in urban areas it is 3.61%, while in rural areas it is 1.59%.

Interview with the head of MOLISA's child labour department: Dan Viet (Vietnamese) has published an interview with Dang Hoa Nam, related to the latest report on child labour (see newsletter #90). Nam points out that child labour is most prevalent in agriculture (over 60% of child labour in the country is in this sector), which is hard to reach and control. He says that one of the best ways to reduce child labour is to reduce household poverty—families will not have to put their children to work if they are able to live without this labour—and this is the focus of the government.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc holds meeting with VGCL Presidium: Lao Dong (Vietnamese) reports on the concluding remarks of the meeting. Both sides stressed the closeness between the government and the VGCL. Phuc said that the working class is the driver of production, and thanked workers for their efforts during difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while noting that they will face further challenges caused by international integration and digital transformation. He said that the government and authorities will continue to work closely to improve the lives of workers. Phuc also noted that the government, the VGCL, and enterprises need to prepare to make sure that workers have a happy Tet holiday, and should especially focus on those facing hardship.

Two found guilty in Essex lorry deaths case: The Guardian (English) reports that two people smugglers have been found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter for the suffocation of 39 Vietnamese migrants in the back of a lorry in Essex (see newsletters #79, #82 and #83).

Source: Joe Buckley

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