Friday, May 21, 2010

[olympiaworkers] 1000 Vietnamese garment workers walk out on May 21 2010

Workers at a Hong Kong-owned clothing factory in Hanoi initiated a wildcat
strike on Tuesday 18 May over below-minimum wages and other breaches in
labor law.

Earth Times reported that the strike was still ongoing on Thursday.

Workers at the Macallan Garment Co said the firm refused to raise salaries
to the minimum wage of 1.34 million dong (72 dollars) per month as
required by law since May 1 for businesses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Business that are wholly or partially foreign-owned face stricter salary
and other regulations than locally owned ones and are frequently targeted
by strikes.

Phung Xuan Kim, an official with the government-affiliated trade union who
is mediating negotiations, said Macallan had refused to give workers
certificates for the mandatory social insurance they had paid. Kim said
the workers were also demanding pay for annual leave and overtime.

The newspaper Dau Tu reported Thursday that some workers were working
13-hour shifts but receiving as little as 59 dollars per month. Average
pay at the factory was 86 dollars per month, the report said.

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, down from 122 in the same period last year.

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, and the trade union steps in to
mediate between striking workers and companies.

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