1,000 Vietnamese workers strike after South Korean factory docks wages

By Tien Hung   July 10, 2016 | 09:48 pm PT
Textile workers are up in arms after their company failed to live up to salary promises.

More than thousand Vietnamese workers in the central province of Quang Nam went on a strike on July 9 in protest of the low wages a Korean textiles company is paying them.


More than 1,000 employees stopped working and gathered at the textile factory on July 9. Photo by VnExpress/Tien Hung

A representative of the workers said that PANKO Tam Thang textile company, a subsidiary of South Korean’s PANKO Cooperation, had advertised that each worker would get VND4 million (US$179) per month, plus housing, lunch and health insurance. However, the representative said that they have only received VND2.9 million instead.

This led to the first wildcat strike on June 10. The company, in response, promised to handle the problem.

It wasn't until workers received their wages on July 7 that they realized nothing had changed, so they organized a second strike.

“Wages should be based on performance rather than a flat rate for everyone, so we’re very annoyed,” a worker added.

Local authorities have sent representatives to hear from both sides. "We will discuss the problem with both parties to find a solution,” said Tran Thi Bo, head of the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in Quang Nam's Tam Ky Town, where the factory is located.

In July last year, South Korean’s PANKO Cooperation invested $70 million to build a textile factory in the Tam Thang Industrial Zone in Quang Nam Province. The factory covers an area of 33.5 hectares and generates about 15,000 jobs.

An overwhelming majority of strikes in Vietnam have been wildcat, meaning not organized by workplace unions. Most of them took place at foreign companies with workers demanding better meals, higher wages, less overtime work, and better working conditions.

There were 245 strikes last year, a slight decrease from 269 a year earlier.

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