Yet another South Korean boss leaves Vietnamese workers in the lurch

By Nguyen Quy   November 7, 2018 | 04:57 pm PT
Yet another South Korean boss leaves Vietnamese workers in the lurch
Hundreds of workers at Texwell Vina Company in Dong Nai Province go on strike on National Highway 1K to demand their pay in February this year. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
40 unpaid workers in Dong Nai are the latest victims of South Korean bosses who flee Vietnam for good.

Kim Dae Gun, South Korean director of the Cho Won Textile Company in the southern Dong Nai Province, went abroad on a business trip with his compatriot manager on October 22.

They have not returned yet.

Many workers of the company have tried to contact the director in vain, and filed a complaint with provincial authorities, media reports said.

Initial investigations show that the workers haven’t received their salaries for the past two months. How much the company owes its employees in total is not yet known.

According to the Dong Nai Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the company still owes VND120 million ($5,150) in social insurance contributions and VND23 billion to local banks.

Police are investigating the incident, which is only the latest of many such that have occurred in the country.

Earlier this year, more than 1,900 workers at Texwell Vina Company in the province were left jobless after their South Korean director and 11 managers left Vietnam, owing them VND31 billion ($1.37 million) in salaries and social insurance contributions.

The crisis made headlines after the workers gathered outside the factory for days to demand their pay. 

The protest prompted authorities to fork out VND7 billion ($308,000) to help the workers celebrate the Lunar New Year in mid-February.

In January, more than 600 workers at a garment firm in the neighboring Saigon staged a strike for more than a week to demand their wages after their South Korean employer disappeared.

Vietnam’s economy grew by 6.8 percent in 2017, the highest rate in a decade, but not all its workers are having a good time.

The country raised its minimum wage by 6.5 percent from mid-2018 to VND3.98 million ($170).

Vietnam General Confederation of Labor earlier this year published a study on minimum wage and cost of living after surveying over 3,000 laborers in 150 different businesses in the country. 26.5 percent said they were "barely getting by," while 12.5 percent said their incomes were not enough to support their families, and have to work overtime or extra jobs to make ends meet.

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