1,000 plus workers return to work Monday after 3-day strike

By Le Hoang    January 6, 2020 | 07:21 am PT
1,000 plus workers return to work Monday after 3-day strike
Workers of Taiwanese footwear maker Ever Great International Footwear Company demand better Tet bonuses. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Son.
More than 1,000 Vietnamese workers of a Taiwanese firm in northern Ninh Binh Province resumed work Monday after a three-day strike demanding higher Tet bonuses.

The workers of the wholly foreign-invested Ever Great International Footwear Company complained that they had not been given bonuses for the 2020 New Year holiday.

Also, for the upcoming Lunar New Year, or Tet, the country’s biggest and most important holiday, leaders of the company had announced a bonus of just half a month's basic salary for workers who had worked for a year or more. Those who had worked for the company for less than a year were to be given a much lower bonus.

Upset, the workers struck work Saturday, demanding that the company reconsiders its holiday bonus policy.

Tran Kim Long, vice chairman of the provincial labor federation, said the firm has since agreed to give Tet bonuses of a month’s basic salary for those working from a year and more, and a percentage of the monthly salary for others, depending on their experience with the company.

Ever Great International Vietnam began operations in September 2018 and produces leather footwear for export.

Companies in Vietnam will pay employees an average Tet bonus of VND6.71 million ($288) this year, a 7.1 percent increase from last year, according to a report prepared by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs based on a survey of 25,000 companies and 3.15 million workers in 40 provinces and cities.

The upcoming Tet will be a seven-day holiday that will start January 23, 2020, two days before the Lunar New Year. Government offices and state-owned companies will close for seven days from January 23 to 29.

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor in 2018 published a study on minimum wages and cost of living after polling over 3,000 workers in 150 different businesses.

Of them, 26.5 percent said they were "barely getting by" while 12.5 percent said their incomes were not enough to support their families and they had to work overtime or do additional jobs to make ends meet.

A recent report by the labor ministry recorded 67 strikes in the first half of 2019, one less than in the same period last year, mostly demanding better pay and food.

82 percent of workers' strikes in January-June 2019 happened in foreign invested companies. South Korean and Taiwanese companies accounted for 16 strikes each, Chinese firms for 10 and Japanese companies for four.

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