Thousands of Vietnamese workers take to highway to protest wage cuts

By Phuoc Tuan   March 24, 2018 | 12:59 am PT
The protest caused hours of congestion and prompted the Taiwanese company to cancel a new payment plan.

Thousands of workers at a Taiwanese footwear company put on a wildcat strike that occupied a national highway for hours on Saturday to protest the company’s new salary system.

The workers from Pouchen Vietnam in Dong Nai Province refused to work and instead gathered in front of the company, taking over part of National Highway 1K that connects the province with its neighbor Saigon.

“We have been informed that the company plans to change the payment system in 2019, which will affect our income and benefits,” a female worker said.

The protest has prompted the company’s directors to promise to stick to the current payment mode. Around 100 workers were still protesting at around 10 a.m. after a province’s labor union official informed the update.

Vietnam has delayed passing a law on demonstrations multiple times, so all protests held by workers in the country amount to what are known as wildcat strikes.

A total of 314 wildcat strikes took place across the country last year, with disgruntled workers demanding better pay and working conditions and protesting against overtime, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

The number was up by nearly 10 percent from the previous year, it said.

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