8,000 workers walk out of shoe factory in northern Vietnam over bicycle parking dispute

By Le Hoang   October 2, 2017 | 04:17 am PT
8,000 workers walk out of shoe factory in northern Vietnam over bicycle parking dispute
Worker go on strike in front of Venus Vietnam Footwear Ltd in Thanh Hoa Province. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Son
The company has closed its gates to bicycles prompting nearby parking lots to double their fees.

Around 8,000 workers walked out of a shoe firm in Thanh Hoa Province on Monday morning after having their bicycle parking privileges taken away from them.

According to the workers, Venus Vietnam Footwear Ltd has been operating for two years and used to allow some employees to park their vehicles inside the factory complex.

Other workers had to find parking lots run by locals in the neighborhood to leave their bikes for VND50,000 ($2.2) per month.

However, the company recently announced that workers will no longer be allowed to leave their bikes in the complex, prompting locals to double the parking fee to $4.4 per month.

“Our salary is already low and we cannot afford new expenses that keep coming up like this,” a worker named Van told VnExpress.

Aside from the new parking rule, some workers said that they are not allowed to take a break for dinner even when they are working overtime until 11 p.m.

The company canteen is also in serious disrepair, leaving it too hot during sunny days and leaking on rainy days, they said.

The striking workers caused tailbacks on National Highway 1A that runs pass the company until around lunchtime.

Labor authorities in Ha Trung District plan to hold talks with both the company and its workers to resolve the situation.

Just a month ago, 6,000 workers in Thanh Hoa went on strike to fight against unreasonable regulations set by S&H Vina Co. Ltd., a garment company in Thach Thanh District.

The wildcat strike lasted for five days, with the factory eventually agreeing to more than half of workers' demands, including abolishing a requirement to give three days notice to take leave for a death in the family.

Vietnam has delayed passing a law on demonstrations multiple times, so all protests held by workers amount to what is known as wildcat strikes.

A total of 133 wildcat strikes took place across the country in the first five months of this year, with disgruntled workers demanding better pay and working conditions and protesting against overtime, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

The number of strikes was down by 24 percent from the same period last year, but more workers were involved in the protests, it said.

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