Workers leaving early for Tet cause factory managers headache

By Dat Nguyen, Ha Mai   January 27, 2022 | 06:35 pm PT
Workers leaving early for Tet cause factory managers headache
A worker welds metal at Dai Dung Company in southern Binh Duong Province. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong
Duong Van Minh in the southern province of Binh Duong has taken a week’s leave before Tet since his hometown Thanh Hoa requires visitors to self-isolate for seven days.

"I am worried if there are some cases of infection, Thanh Hoa authorities will not let me return, and so I asked to leave work earlier than last year," he told VnEpxress International.

His company, Asia Saigon Food Ingredients Jsc, is in fact facing a shortage of workers as a result of many workers leaving early for Tet (Lunar New Year).

General director Pham Dang Long said: "Most factory workers are from Thanh Hoa. Since some localities in this province require quarantine of seven to 14 days, many workers are worried."

Vietnam recorded an average of 15,437 new Covid-19 cases nationwide in the last seven days.

Another Binh Duong firm, construction materials manufacturer Dai Dung Company, faces a similar plight with around 10 percent of its 1,200 workers asking to leave early, some choosing to forego their pay, Nguyen Van Hung, its labor union chairman, said.

But company leaders are not grudging them this demand and have made it easy for them to leave and even provided travel support despite the labor shortage, he added.

The stringent Covid-19 measures in provinces such as Thanh Hoa and Nghe An are causing concern among workers since Tet is by far the most important holiday for Vietnamese, when people often travel back to their hometown to unite with their family, and this is causing labor shortages at many factories.

Thanh Hoa has been making headlines in recent weeks for its tough Covid restrictions, especially for people coming from outside.

One commune has even set up a temporary lodging place with 60 tents to house returning workers though the province does not require it.

"Workers leaving early for Tet has severely affected our business, and we are [also] concerned that some might not come back to work immediately after the holiday due to Covid-19 concerns," Dinh Hai Ninh, CEO of Hung Phuoc Investment and Development company in Binh Duong, said.

However, companies have to comply since the workers’ demand is reasonable, he said.

A shortage of workers often occurs around Tet, but most usually stay until the last working day.

Ly Kim Chi, chairwoman of the HCMC Food and Foodstuff Association, said many food companies are recruiting temporary workers to deal with the shortages, and they currently make up 20-30 percent of their total workforce, but even then it is challenging.

But taking a week off is not something workers want either after months of no or low income last year when tough restrictions were imposed in the southern region.

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