Hanoi environmental workers unpaid for months pick trash to survive

By Tat Dinh   June 17, 2021 | 03:48 pm PT
Hanoi environmental workers unpaid for months pick trash to survive
Environmental workers collect trash in Hanoi's Nam Tu Liem District. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.
Many of 200 sanitation workers of a Hanoi firm that ended their contracts without paying their salaries for several months are picking trash to make ends meet.

The company, Minh Quan Hi-Tech JSC, was acquired by the Nam Hanoi Group JSC early 2021, but the group has failed to pay the salaries that the former owed its employees from July to December last year. The workers were dismissed late December.

Tran Thi Bich, a representative of the Nam Hanoi group, said the amount of unpaid wages was the liability of Minh Quan Hi-Tech JSC. She said the group was working with the leaders of the Minh Quan Hi-Tech JSC to pay the workers their dues.

Many of the workers, meanwhile, have taken to collecting garbage after finishing other regular jobs that they have found in order to repay debts incurred because they were not paid for several months.

Nguyen Thi Dao, 43, is an environmental worker for another company now. She works on Ho Tung Mau Street in Nam Tu Liem District. After her night shift ends, she continues to collect plastic bottles and cans to repay loans she had taken to tide over the period she was not paid her salary in her earlier job.

Dao was a trash collector for the Minh Quan Hi-Tech JSC with a monthly salary of VND5 million ($218). Many of her former colleagues share her plight.

Nguyen Thi Phuong, who is in charge of the environmental workers team in Cau Dien Ward, Nam Tu Liem District, said: "We [the environmental workers] have repeatedly requested that are salaries are paid, but company is yet to resolve the issue."

On Wednesday, Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh requested concerned authorities to investigate the issue and take steps to ensure that the rights and interests of more than 200 environmental workers. He has ordered that a report on the issue is submitted to the city before June 30.

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