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Thousands choose to work over Tet break

By Le Tuyet   February 5, 2022 | 05:00 pm PT
With Tet payment higher than normal, many Ho Chi Minh City workers have chosen to stay back instead of returning home for the holiday.

Doan Tran Nhiem, from central Binh Dinh Province, and his wife Nguyen Thi Thu Tra from northern Hung Yen Province are both employed by Nidec Vietnam Co., Ltd. in Saigon Hi-Tech Park of Thu Duc City.

Married for 10 years and raising two children, this Tet, which Vietnamese refer to as the Lunar New Year holiday, is the third time they have been away from home.

"The two previous times, I didn't go back to my hometown because my wife had just given birth, but this year, it is a financial issue," Nhiem explained.

Workers at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park in Thu Duc City celebrate Tet on February 1, 2022 before they start working. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet

Workers at the Saigon Hi-Tech Park in Thu Duc City celebrate Tet on February 1, 2022 before they start working. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tuyet

In mid-July last year, when the Covid-19 outbreak in HCMC hit its peak, the city administration requested businesses to keep workers back to ensure production is maintained and at the same time, lower the risk of spreading infection.

As Nhiem had registered to stay at work, his wife took leave to care for their two children. As a result, the family’s income was cut by half until October when the city finally reopened as the outbreak eased.

Shortly after restrictions were dropped, his family took turns to get infected and therefore, were isolated for several weeks.

It was not until the beginning of this year that both Nhiem and Tra could return to work.

A month ago, the factory announced it would keep production going during the Tet break, which officially lasts nine days until Feb. 6

As announced by their company, salaries would be raised by 300 percent in five days before and during Tet and 200 percent in the next five days. Besides, each worker would receive VND200,000 in cash each day.

It didn't take much time for Nhiem and his wife to decide to work through Tet.

They arranged to register their shifts in a way that either one of them could stay home with their kids.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga, 30, who works at Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam Co., Ltd (FAPV) in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone of District 7 is another example.

Originally from HCMC, Nga said many of her colleagues are migrants who have decided to remain in the city to work over Tet.

In all, as many as 3,000 workers, or half of FAPV employees, have applied to work during Tet.

Workers of Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam Co., Ltd (FAPV) in HCMCs District 7 have lunch as they stay to work during the Tet break, February 2022. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong

Workers of Furukawa Automotive Parts Vietnam Co., Ltd (FAPV) in HCMC's District 7 have lunch as they stay to work during the Tet break, February 2022. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong

Hoang Xuan Thai, chairman of the company’s labor union, said this is the first time the firm has maintained production through Tet.

Last year, the latest outbreak in HCMC forced it to suspend operation and operate at half capacity. As a result, many orders fell behind schedule. Therefore, the company had to boost the production progress, Thai said.

Workers will receive a payment thrice higher than normal when working through Tet, he added.

At Nidec Vietnam Corporation Technical Center in Thu Duc City, more than 2,500 laborers remained at work this holiday.

The company also needs to speed up production to make up for Covid disruptions.

Nguyen Minh Duc, an official of the labor union at Saigon Hi-Tech Park, said around 5,000 factory workers have registered to work during Tet.

"After a long period of interruption due to the pandemic, companies are speeding up progress while employees seek to earn more after such a difficult year."

HCMC was the epicenter of Vietnam’s fourth Covid-19 wave. The city was put under various measures of restriction from May to September.

 
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