92 pct of Vietnamese workers struggle with current wages: survey

By Hai Binh, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam's labor union said a 16-18 percent increase to the minimum wage can help workers pay for 89 percent of their necessities. Photo credit: Lao Dong Vietnam's labor union said a 16-18 percent increase to the minimum wage can help workers pay for 89 percent of their necessities. Photo credit: Lao Dong

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The umbrella labor association is continuing to campaign for a wage increase by releasing a survey that shows most workers in the country are struggling to live off their income.
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor said Thursday its survey found 92 percent of workers are finding it hard or are unable to cover all their necessities on current wages.
It did the survey in April-May at 60 businesses in both rural and urban areas and in sectors like garment and textile, construction, transport, electronics and agricultural processing.
It found workers earn VND3.23-4.37 million ($146-198) a month while the average monthly expense for a person with at least a child is VND4.25 million ($192), up 3.6 percent from last year.
Around 20 percent of the workers said the money was not enough for them to live on, 31.3 percent said they had to be very thrifty while 40.7 percent said it was just enough.
Only around 8 percent said they could save a little.
The minimum wage is used by businesses to calculate salaries for their workers by multiplying the basic amount by a coefficient assigned to each worker based on their skills and experience. Beginners, for instance, are often given a multiplier of just above 2.3.
The current minimum wage ranges between VND2.15 and 3.1 million (US$97-140) a month depending on location. There is no consensus yet on how much it should be raised next year, with the association suggesting a 16-18 percent hike but business associations only wanting a 6-7 percent increase, citing difficult operating conditions.
Mai Duc Chinh, vice chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, said earlier that current wage levels only cover 75 percent of workers’ necessities and the recommended increase could help them meet 89 percent of their basic needs.
Vietnam increased the minimum wage by 15 percent earlier this year.

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