Wildcat strike at Japanese electronics firm in Vietnam

Workers at a Japanese-owned computer chip factory in Hanoi downed tools on demanding a pay increase.

Submitted by Steven. on May 9, 2010

Earth Times reported that some 800 workers at the Katolec Vietnam Corporation, began striking Wednesday 5 May after the company refused requests for higher salaries, better motorbike parking and other conditions.

"They haven't destroyed any company property," said Dang Thi Hien, an office clerk at the industrial park. "They just gather in front of the factory to protest peacefully."Wildcat strikes are common features of salary negotiations at foreign-owned companies in Vietnam. But the number of strikes fell to 82 in the first quarter of 2010, down from 122 in the same period last year.

The police-run newspaper Cong An Nhan Dan said that workers were upset when the company failed to raise their salaries in April, as had been the standard practice for years.

A source in Katolec's human resources department, who declined to be named, said the company argued it had already raised salaries in January to comply with new government minimum wage laws.

Under Vietnamese law, strikes must be approved by local authorities and the government-affiliated national trade union. In practice, virtually all strikes take place without such approval.