More wildcats in Vietnamese garment industry

Some 2,000 workers at two foreign-owned companies have gone on strike, demanding better pay and allowances, company and union officials said Friday.

Submitted by Ed on September 14, 2008

More than 1,400 workers at Valley View Vietnam, a Taiwanese-owned garment company based in the central city of Danang, have been on strike since Thursday, demanding a monthly petrol allowance of 100,000 dong (6 dollars) and an increase in their daily meal allowance.

"We told them to return to work and that we are ready to meet their demands, but they refuse," said Le Ngoc Tuyen, head of human resource at the company. "Their strike has made trouble for us with clients, we can't ship orders on time."

Government agencies in Danang have so far failed to negotiate a resolution to the strike.

Meanwhile, more than 400 workers at South Korea's Daewoong and J. Young, a garment company in the outlying Ho Chi Minh City district of Hoc Mon, have struck to demand a pay raise of 300,000 dong (18 dollars) above the current salary of 930,000 dong (56 dollars) per month.

"We have tried to settle the case by working with both sides, but workers are still on strike today and will not return to work until their demand is met," said Bui Thi Tuyet Nhung, chairman of Hoc Mon Trade Union Association.

Vietnam has been struggling to curb double-digit annual inflation, which hurts workers' purchasing power. Inflation rose to a monthly rate of 1.6% in August, up from 1.1% in July, due to fuel price hikes.

There are no independent labour rights organizations in Vietnam, and the official national labour union sees its role as mediating between companies and workers rather than taking sides. As a result, unofficial wildcat strikes have become increasingly common.