Company to take labor refund dispute to court

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A Hanoi-based company on Wednesday said it would bring to court disputes with 18 laborers over refunds demanded by the latter for alleged breach of labor export contracts.

Bui Hai Hoa, director general of Petromanning Company, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, said the move was planned as the laborers didn't agree with the offered refund of VND70.2 million (US$3,679) each, including airfares each.

It was the highest "support" that the company could pay as ordered by PetroVietnam's leaders and in accordance with the contracts, he said.

"We showed our goodwill, but the workers didn't agree. So, the last solution will be to bring the case to court and settle the dispute," Hoa said.

The company had offered to pay VND43.2 million each, not including airfares, when the workers gathered in front of its headquarters in Hanoi on Thursday, demanding that it pay back fees of VND99.07 million each.

The workers refused to accept the company's offer and sent their appeal to the Overseas Labor Administration at the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

They said they were sent to Romania last November under a five-year contract with Petromanning to work as laborers on construction projects for 1.85 euros an hour for eight hours of work a day.

However, they were only assigned to do some minor repair work at apartment buildings for just 15 days a month for three months during which they were not paid either their salary or the extra payment promised for no-work days.

When the laborers protested, Petromanning's Romanian partner, E.R.C Development S.R.LA, sent them to work as garbage collectors.

Not agreeing with the change, they turned to Vietnamese Embassy in Romania for help and demanded that Petromanning send them home.

Hoa argued that the Romanian company had to be held responsible for dealing with financial matters for the laborers, adding that Petromanning had sent proposals to Romanian Embassy in Vietnam and Vietnamese Embassy in Romania for cooperative solutions to the case.

Meanwhile, another 16 laborers in Romania were also going to return because their employer didn't give them work as contracted, Hoa said.

They would receive the same support as the 18 workers who returned earlier, he added.

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