1,000 workers strike for better pay, benefits at South Korean firms

By Nguyen Hai, Duc Hung   February 15, 2022 | 11:05 pm PT
1,000 workers strike for better pay, benefits at South Korean firms
Workers at the EM-Tech company in Nghe An Province go on strike, February 15, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Van Hai
Around 1,000 tech and textile workers in Nghe An and Ha Tinh Provinces in central Vietnam went on strike Tuesday over pay and benefit demands.

Since 1 p.m., over 500 workers of South Korean EM-Tech Vietnam, which manufactures electrical components, in Nghe An's capital Vinh have been on strike. In certain workshops, hundreds of workers continued with their jobs.

The workers said they wanted a raise from their 2021 pay; fair allowances; better lunches and Covid-19 tests every Monday.

"Senior employees receive the same allowances as someone who just joined. That is not fair," said a worker, explaining her reason for the strike. She added she's currently receiving VND3.9 million ($171.35) as per the region's minimum wage, plus overtime pay and allowances, totaling around VND6 million a month.

Thai Le Cuong, head of the Vinh confederation of labor, said the company would increase worker’s pay in March. Regarding allowances, the company said workers are mistaken: senior employees do receive more than newcomers. Regarding lunches, the company said it would increase the value of each meal from VND14,000 to VND16,000.

Cuong said the company has implemented all necessary Covid-19 prevention measures as decided by medical authorities but would consider worker demands for quick Covid-19 tests. Regarding worker salaries, the minimum wage for Vinh is currently around VND3.4 million, so the VND3.9 million the company’s currently offering is not against the law.

After hearing the company and the labor confederation’s explanation, workers halted their strike.

EM-Tech, operating since 2012, has around 1,700 workers.

The same day, at Nam Thuan in Nghe An’s Dien Chau District, around 200 workers also demanded an increase in their benefits and allowances.

Pham Duc Cuong, head of the confederation of labor in Dien Chau, said the firm and authorities have succeeded in persuading workers to go home.

The textile manufacturer has over 1,000 workers.

In Ha Tinh, over 200 out of 2,000 workers of South Korean company Haivina in Nam Hong Industrial Park in Hong Linh Town went on strike Tuesday to demand better pay, Covid-19 support and other allowances.

After about 30 minutes, the firm allowed the workers to go home, while certain other operations continued.

The workers who went on strike said their pay and benefits were too low. Despite overtime pay and other allowances, each only receives around VND4 million a month.

"I don’t take days off and only get an allowance of VND180,000. One time when I had to leave work around 20 minutes early, part of my pay was deducted," a worker said.

Dinh Van Hong, deputy chairman of Hong Linh Town People’s Committee, said the company is seeking opinions from its headquarters in South Korea and would respond to workers soon.

Haivina manufactures sports and industrial clothing. It has over 2,000 workers.

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