Workers need policy push to resume work post-Covid: NA chairman

By Viet Tuan   September 18, 2022 | 04:51 am PT
Workers need policy push to resume work post-Covid: NA chairman
National Assembly chairman Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the Vietnam Socio-economic Forum 2022, September 18, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said Sunday that policies were needed to encourage workers to return to work after the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

Speaking at a Vietnam Socio-economic Forum 2022 discussion on ways to support businesses and workers and recover production, Hue said several industries still lacked workers.

Jonathan Picus, UNDP Senior Economist in Vietnam, said there were multiple reasons for some workers not returning to the market after the Covid-19 pandemic. Some might have had their health decline after a Covid-19 infection, requiring periods of recovery, especially for older people. Others workers may want to switch jobs or switch to other places for work.

Besides, scientific and technological advances were reducing demand for humans to work in retail, banking and certain production sectors, Picus said. Automation and machines were gradually replacing people, while there are fields that lack skilled workers, he added.

Le Van Thanh, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said one of the main reasons for workers not returning to work after the pandemic was that those who had returned to their hometowns from big cities haven't had enough time to move back. Many workers in textile and leather have also moved to other industries, he added.

Lam Van Doan, deputy head of the Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, cited data from the General Statistics Office to point out that the average income of a worker in the second quarter was VND6.6 million, a VND200,000 increase from the first quarter.

Compared to the same period in 2021, the income of workers in the second quarter saw a 8.9% growth or about VND542,000. The northern part of central Vietnam and coastal central Vietnam have seen the highest average income growth, he added.

Ever since Vietnam switched its strategy to adaptation with Covid-19, the workforce has increased to 51 million people, while the number of unemployed people dropped by 41,000 compared to the previous quarter to 1.1 million. The eastern part of southern Vietnam and the Mekong Delta have the highest rate of unemployment in the country.

The number of unemployed workers have also markedly reduced in many fields, including agriculture, seafood, industry, construction and services. The unemployed are mostly low-skilled workers.

"The capabilities and skills of workers, despite improvements, is still low compared to the needs of labor markets both inside and outside Vietnam, which is a roadblock to job growths and productivity," Doan said, adding that Vietnam should learn lessons from countries like Japan to change its social policies and adapt to an aging population.

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