1.3 million workers lose livelihoods to Covid-19

By Hong Chieu   August 17, 2021 | 05:45 am PT
1.3 million workers lose livelihoods to Covid-19
Workers wash their hands at a factory in Vietnam's southern Long An Province, July 2021. They are among the stay-at-work team at the factory to avoid Covid-19 spread. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam
The ongoing Covid-19 wave has affected more than 1.3 million workers who have lost their jobs, had their contracts suspended or stopped working for other reasons.

Besides, nearly 30,000 workers have been infected with the novel coronavirus in 50 cities and provinces; 330,000 are related to the infected workers; and 390,000 workers are living in lockdown areas, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

More than 1,000 companies are having workers stay on at the workplace to continue operations.

Ngo Duy Hieu, vice chairman of the confederation, said all the distressing figures will increase if the pandemic situation continues to remain complicated as it is now.

"The life of workers will become extremely difficult, even to maintain a family life and take care of children. The situation needs cooperation and support from society as a whole," he said.

Hieu said the government has issued relief packages and each locality also has its own policies to help workers, but "whether the support meets the needs and reaches workers or not depends on the implementation and the procedures in each locality." Therefore, the community needs to join hands to help workers in difficulties, he reiterated.

He said unions at different levels have called on landlords, asking them to cut or reduce the rent for workers, but not all agree to do so, even when they are "financially stable."

The government issued its second Covid-19 relief package of VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) in July, following up on the first one of VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) that came out in April last year.

However, many workers, especially factory employees, have complained that the papers needed to prove that one has been truly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have prevented them from accessing even the first package.

Last year, more than one million workers had drawn VND17.9 trillion in unemployment benefits, up 49.2 percent over 2019, according to the Vietnam Social Security. As regulated, three months from the day they lose their jobs, people who have social insurance contributions can apply for unemployment benefits.

Vietnam was hit by the fourth Covid-19 wave late April.

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