Vietnamese workers on new jobs after S Korean boss’ flee

RMG Times Desk Report: After a long struggle, over 600 garment workers in Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam have found new jobs after their employers fled owing them a huge amount of dollars, but many of their colleagues are still struggling as reported in VN Express.

The workers from Texwell Vina Company are expected to start working at a Hong Kong company in the province next month. PouSung Vietnam, their new employer, has promised salaries of more than VND5 million ($220) a month.

Vietnam’s minimum wage currently stands at up to $175 per month. So, from that perspective, “It’s a good income,” said one of the workers, as cited by Lao Dong.

More than 1,900 workers were left jobless after their South Korean director and 11 managers left Vietnam on February 8, owing them VND31 billion ($1.37 million) in salaries and social insurance contributions.

The crisis grabbed headlines after the workers gathered outside the factory for days to demand their pay. The protest prompted authorities to fork out VND7 billion ($308,000) to help the workers celebrate the Lunar New Year in mid-February.

After the holiday, the workers returned, still to find no bosses. The South Korean Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City said the parent company in South Korea has also been shut down.

Dong Nai Province spent another VND1.4 billion this month to cover some of the workers’ social insurance contributions to secure benefits for old and pregnant workers.

This is the latest in a series of cases where employers have absconded from Vietnam. In January, more than 600 workers at a garment firm in the neighboring Saigon staged a strike for more than a week to demand their wages after their South Korean employer disappeared.

Vietnam’s economy grew by 6.8 percent in 2017, the highest rate in a decade, but not all its workers are having a good time.

Last year, a third of the 2,600 workers surveyed by Vietnam’s Institute of Workers and Trade Unions said their income was barely enough to live on, while 12 percent said their wages simply did not cover basic expenses, forcing them to work extra hours.

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