More pain in store for workers as orders remain scarce

By Le Tuyet   December 25, 2022 | 04:41 pm PT
More pain in store for workers as orders remain scarce
Workers seen in a garment factory in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet
With orders for 2023 plunging by 42%, factory workers are likely to face more difficulties next year with their work hours reduced.

The main industries set to be affected are machineries, plastics, chemicals, footwear, and garments, a recent survey of 240 companies at the Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) found.

Companies in these industrial zones have had their employees working two to three days a week due to a shortage of orders, Nguyen Vo Minh Thu, deputy chairwoman of HEPZA, said at a recent forum.

She added that some have not renewed expired contracts with workers and many employees have quit.

Tran Doan Trung, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Labor Union, said over 110,000 workers in the city have seen work hours reduced or lost their job this year.

For instance, footwear maker PouYuen, a contract manufacturer for giants like Adidas and Reebok, with nearly 56,000 workers, has let 18,000 take every other Saturday off, he said.

The biggest employer in the city expects the problem to linger for another six months, he added.

Other companies have similar expectations.

Nguyen Huu Tuan, human resources director of Thanh Cong Textile Garment, Investment and Trading (TCM), said the company had hoped to sign $38 million worth of contracts for the first quarter next year, but has only managed $36 million.

It has to accept low added value orders, which could result in losses, to ensure it could keep its workers, he said.

TCM has 6,500 employees now, down 300 from earlier this year, and is not hiring.

Taiwanese shoemaker Ty Hung had to pare its payroll by nearly 1,200 workers as orders plunged from 250,000 pairs a month earlier this year to 80,000 in September. Most of its customers are in Europe, where inflation has been raging and hit consumption.

The company also has two plants in Dong Thap and Ben Tre Provinces where workers cannot do overtime and are furloughed for a few days each month.

Some garment makers said their orders for the first half of next year are down 20-40%, according to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

Business representatives have sought relief from the government for workers.

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