Thousands of workers to lose jobs after Hanoi turns back on public gardens

By Bui Hong Nhung   August 25, 2016 | 07:43 pm GMT+7

$2.4 million seems like a lot of money to spend on cutting the grass along one highway.

Authorities in Hanoi have decided to spend less on the maintenance of public gardens in the city, putting the livelihoods of around 6,000 manual workers at risk.


Hanoi spends VND53 billion ($2.4 million) per year cutting the grass on the 24-kilometer Thang Long Avenue. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

At the beginning of July, Hanoi suspended maintenance of its gardens and central reservations. The city also stopped growing new flowers around the city from August 1.

The move could save Hanoi about VND700 billion ($31.5 million) each year, according to Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the People's Committee.

However, many Hanoians claim that this sudden decision could hurt the city’s urban landscape and make a large number of workers redundant.

The director of a business employed to take care of trees said that he has fired 300 out of 400 unskilled workers due to the city’s decision.

These employees used to earn VND4 million ($180) to VND6 million per month, so this will result in financial difficulties for their families, the director said, adding that they aren’t young enough to be recruited by other companies.

At the same time, the decision will hit the company where it hurts.

“We signed a contract to prune, trim and water trees for 45 months, but that contract has been canceled after just 10 months. We won't be able to recover the money we spent on facilities and equipment.”

Pham Thanh Tung, deputy head of the Vietnam Association of Architects, said that it’s important for Hanoi to maintain its public gardens, but the city should cut costs on tree care services.

 “Neatly trimmed lawns and lines of green trees along the streets make a huge impression on foreign visitors, better than any words we use to talk about the capital,” Tung said.

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