6,000 workers strike at Taiwanese footwear maker

By Duc Hung   October 3, 2023 | 06:27 am PT
6,000 workers strike at Taiwanese footwear maker
6,000 workers at the Viet Glory company in Nghe An Province leave work on October 2, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Han
Some 6,000 employees of Taiwanese footwear maker Viet Glory in the central province of Nghe An gathered at the company's gates for over an hour on Tuesday before leaving without working.

In a proposal sent to the company, located in Dien Chau District, the workers listed several demands, including a basic salary raise, adjustments production quotas, improved communication standards, and issues regarding taking leave, bonuses and maternity benefits.

A female worker who has worked for the company for two years said her normal monthly income was about VND7 million ($286.94), overtime pay included. But over the past year, difficulties in securing orders meant there was no overtime, and so her monthly income was reduced to around VND6 million.

She said the basic monthly salary she receives at VND4.13 million is quite low, and she wants an increase of VND300,000. Her current workload quota requires an assembly chain of 40-45 people to complete 1,000 leather and footwear products every day, and if they can reach it, they might get a higher quota the next day.

"Low salary, combined with the daily quotas, make us very stressed. The company also makes workers go to meetings too often, but does not count meeting time as work, so we have to work extra. If anyone speaks up, supervisors talk back to us harshly," she said.

In a document by Viet Glory responding to the workers’ demands, the company agreed to pay support for workers in hazardous environments, and workers would have a 13th month of bonus pay in accordance with the firm’s benefit policies.

The company said it has "resolved and made adjustments" regarding the rest of the demands. On salary raises, the firm said the minimum salary for Dien Chau is VND3.64 million. The current basic salary of VND4.13 million is therefore legal, and with the current small number of orders, the company cannot adjust that.

But the firm did say that working time would be adjusted depending on the production situation, and overtime meetings would also mean overtime pay. There would be increases to bonuses for meeting quotas starting this month.

However, the workers and the company have yet to reach an agreement, so the employees refused to go back to work on Tuesday.

Ha Huy Dong, chairman of the Dien Chau District Confederation of Labor, said authorities and the union are working with the company to resolve the situation.

Viet Glory mainly produces footwear for export. The Taiwanese firm has been operating since 2019 and currently has over 6,000 workers. In 2021-2022, thousands of workers went on strike twice, only returning to work after certain demands were met.

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