Factories strive to retain workers amid falling orders

By Le Tuyet   August 6, 2022 | 07:30 pm PT
Factories in HCMC are trying various ways to prevent workers from quitting at a time when they do not have enough orders to provide jobs for all.

Footwear maker Long Rich Vietnam Co. Ltd based in Thu Duc, with almost 5,000 workers, has just enough orders for workers to complete during regular working hours and so there is no scope for overtime work unlike previously, Nguyen Thi Thuy Van, chairwoman of its labor union, said.

With orders expected to drop further, the company has made plans to retain all its workers.

If there are not enough orders to keep them busy, they will be asked to do other jobs such as cleaning the machinery and making covers for the machines and gloves and aprons for themselves.

During this period, they will still get a fixed salary and daily lunch. Even if there is not any work for them, the factory will still have workers check in every day to have lunch.

The company will also organize sports and entertainment programs to keep them entertained.

Van said: "Such activities are to create a reason for workers to come to the factory and keep employer and employees in touch.

"Without that connection, workers will look for other jobs and when the business returns to normal, we will not have enough workers."

Having workers stay at home and get 75 percent of their salary while waiting for new orders would be the last solution, she added.

Workers at a footwear factory in Thu Duc City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet

Workers at a footwear factory in Thu Duc, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet

Textile and garment firms have seen orders drop since the second quarter and are having workers work in rotation.

The industry's exports have been hit by major problems this year, severely impacting many companies, Tran Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said.

At the beginning of the year businesses received a lot of orders but suffered from labor shortages, but since the second quarter the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war have led to rising fuel prices and people in many countries changing their consumption habits, causing a sharp decline in demand for fashion items, she said at a conference in HCMC last month.

Many have had workers taking turns because there was not enough work for all of them at once, she said.

Workers at a Dony Garment Co. Ltd in HCMCs Binh Chanh District. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong

Workers at a Dony Garment Co. Ltd in HCMC's Binh Chanh District. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong

Companies in other sectors too faced the same problem due to lack of orders.

Do Trung Anh, HR director of a foreign electronics firm, said many companies hire temporary workers through labor firms.

His company normally has a payroll of more than 1,000 workers but is now keeping only 700 on a permanent basis for important tasks and hires casual labor for less important ones, he said.

"The company has to pay labor suppliers but in the long term this costs less since it will not have to pay bonuses or compensation when terminating contracts."

Nguyen Xuan Son, country operations manager, staffing and outsourcing at ManpowerGroup Vietnam, which provides workforce solutions, said his firm has supplied more than 5,000 casual laborers to companies this year, mostly young people looking to gain experience.

Nguyen Tam Thanh, regional human resources director - Cargill Thailand & Vietnam, one of the leading suppliers of animal nutrition products, solutions and services in Vietnam, said the casual labor ratio now is 15% on average, but would rise to 25% and 50% in future.

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