Covid-19 forces HCMC's biggest employer to close

By Le Tuyet   July 13, 2021 | 06:14 am PT
Covid-19 forces HCMC's biggest employer to close
Workers of Pouyuen Vietnam leave after work in June, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Taiwan’s footwear maker Pouyuen Vietnam with over 56,000 staff will suspend operation from Wednesday as ordered by HCMC’s Binh Tan District.

The company will be closed for 10 days after the company said it could not fulfill the district's requirements on having all employees stay back at the factory and get the new coronavirus tests every three days instead of moving back and forth between their residencies and the factory.

Cu Phat Nghiep, chairman of the company's labor union, said the factory could not arrange for all workers to stay in the factory because there are too many of them while a majority of the factory has been occupied by machinery.

The company has already considered the plan to cut production and thereby reduce the number of employees to ensure social distancing, but even if production is kept at a minimum of 30 percent, there would be more than 16,000 workers staying back and it is still difficult for the company to arrange accommodation for that many people.

Prior to the decision to close the company, Covid-19 related problems have already forced more than 33,000 workers of Pouyuen Vietnam to temporarily stop working.

Among them, nearly 10,000 workers living in HCMC's neighbor Long An could not come to the factory to work due to local authorities' "travel pass" regulations. Neighboring localities have required all commuters from HCMC to be Covid-19 free, get the required tests and clearance.

The same reason had previously caused more than 3,500 workers from Mekong Delta's provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre to take a break from work. All these workers typically commute in the company’s shuttle buses.

In addition, nearly 20,000 workers have had to temporarily stop working after coming into contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases and having to quarantine themselves at home.

Some workers have decided to quit.

Pouyuen Vietnam has about 56,000 employees and is HCMC’s biggest employer. According to a report by the city's health officials, Pouyuen had detected 35 Covid-19 cases as of July 4.

HCMC has 320,000 workers in export processing zones and a high-tech park and almost 1.3 million in 17 industrial zones.

According to the HCMC Federation of Labor, by July 7 more than 1,800 of these workers had been diagnosed with Covid in the new wave that began in late April.

The city has for weeks been the worst hit locality in the nation, with community infections crossing 16,500 by Tuesday night.

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