August 21, 2008: In a sign that labor trafficking may be a simple extension of Vietnam’s domestic policies and attitudes towards workers, the Thanh Nien newspaper of Vietnam’s official press reported this week that top leaders of the country’s government-run unions are urging their comrades to clamp down on wildcat strikes.
“Labor unions have to be more active in … preventing wildcat strikes that inflict huge losses on businesses nationwide,” according to the Vietnam General Labor Union (GLU), which sounds more intent on defending management than workers.
The union bosses’ urgings seem out of step with the feelings of ordinary Vietnamese workers, who have been battered by skyrocketing inflation, with predictable results. “Wildcat strikes by disgruntled workers wanting better salaries, less working hours, and less harsh disciplinary actions have been widespread across the nation this year,” notes the August 18 article.
The article lists several of the latest strikes, none of which, the writers note with apparent disdain, “were led by the companies’ labor unions.”
- Last Friday, around 800 workers of Taiwanese-invested firm Duc Quan Co. Ltd. went on strike in HCMC demanding higher income and social insurance. They said they had been deprived of benefits like sick leave and maternity leave because the management had failed to make social insurance payments since last September.
- The Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 witnessed two labor strikes last Tuesday, led by disgruntled workers from Viet Co. Ltd., a wholly Taiwanese-funded company, and Thuy Bang Co. Ltd.
- Some 1,000 workers of the Epic Designers Company (EDC) located in Bien Hoa Town in Dong Nai Province went on strike last week, demanding a monthly increase of VND200,000 (US$12.05 ) in their salary.