Grab Workers Strike in Vietnam

On-demand motorbike hailing services in Hanoi, Viet Nam
On-demand motorbike hailing services in Hanoi, Viet Nam experience a difficult time in April 2020 due to COVID-19. © ILO

Hundreds of proletarians working for the ride hailing service Grab have gone on strike - Left-Communist Group of Vietnam

Submitted by Anonymous on April 29, 2021

It is no secret that capital has permeated every level of society in Vietnam. But now the contradictions of capitalism are starting to show once again. And resistance is being made manifest through the strike. Although the resistance is not great, no struggle must be discarded, especially not the one Vietnam is faced with now.

Hundreds of proletarians working for the ride hailing service Grab have gone on strike recently, following a proposal by Grab to institute a new fee plan. Said fee plan would increase the percentage of tips that Grab could take from it’s drivers - the “take rate” - from 20% to 30%. The new plan would also increase the fee for Grab’s car and bike services by 5% to 6%.

The plan, indicative of the bourgeoisie’s tendency to shrink wages, was proposed in response to a new tax plan by the Vietnamese government.

Although those striking are all drivers for Grab, this new plan has naturally angered those who use the service, who will be forced to pay more.1

This is not the first time that Grab policy has provoked a strike. In 2018 Grab workers went on strike when the company proposed an increase of the take rate from 20% to 23.6%.2 In fact that original 20% take rate, instituted in 2017, was an increase from the original 15%. This 15% to 20% increase was likewise met with harsh criticism, though no action.3

Like the strike before it, the likelihood that the strikers here succeed in their goal is high. But the likelihood this evolves to class wide action is low. The struggle has spread to at least Hanoi and Saigon,4 and mobilized hundreds in its efforts. And there is a lack of the presence of trade unions, who could only act as mediators between labor and capital. This characteristic, one of the more important ones, must be preserved throughout the whole struggle, so workers may come to really communist conclusions, and not illusions which delude them into thinking capitalism can be reformed.

Unfortunately the strike lacks real militancy and a political programme. If this struggle is to really strike at the heart of the problem, the capitalist dictatorship of Vietnam, then it must possess these two characteristics, along with a class unity. Otherwise it will stay a pseudo-reformist campaign.

Although we cannot really say for certain what will come of it. But, success or otherwise, history tells us that it is only a matter of time before the next hike in take rates. But the proletariat can only take so much abuse! Sooner or later, having forged a political programme, and with the burning desires of revolution in their hearts, the proletariat will unite as a class and smash it’s oppressors! Atop their graves shall be made a complete dictatorship of the proletariat!