Workers on strike in Vietnam


HANOI, AFP

Tens of thousands of Vietnamese workers have gone on strike in foreign-owned companies in the country’s industrial south over the past week demanding higher pay, state media said Tuesday.

Five factories, owned by companies from Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, were hit by industrial action on Monday in Dong Nai province near the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, the Tien Phong daily newspaper said.

The latest strikes brought to more than 30,000 the number of workers who walked off the job in the province over the past week, said the state-run daily without specifying how many of them had returned to work.

“We warned employers late last year that strikes could occur in early 2007 if they do not improve their salary system according to the law,” Huynh Tan Kiet, chairman of the provincial labor federation, was quoted saying. “However, they did not act on this.”

A major wave of strikes hit foreign-owned companies in southern Vietnam early last year, with tens of thousands downing tools in demand for higher wages and better conditions.

In just one of the recent strikes, some 3,000 workers walked off the job last Friday at the Green River Wood and Lumber company in Binh Duong province, also near the industrial hub formerly called Saigon.

Vietnam, where manual laborers typically earn around US$50 a month, has become an attractive destination for foreign producers of footwear, textiles and garments, electronics and automobiles seeking out cheap labor.