Construction workers block Vietnam highway as contractors fail to pay

By Nguyen Tuan, Thanh Nien News

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Workers block the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway in Lao Cai Province on October 7, 2014. Photo: Khanh Van Workers block the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway in Lao Cai Province on October 7, 2014. Photo: Khanh Van

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Traffic on a highway in northern Vietnam was blocked Tuesday as dozens of workers flocked to the highway to protest some sub-contractors for failing to pay them. 
At around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, dozens of local people brought with them tree branches and sticks to block the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway section through the northwestern province of Lao Cai. 
The crowd caused traffic congestion in around one hour. 
They only stopped after local police and the management board of the highway project arrived at the scene. 
The group said some sub-contractors of the project hired them to build some parts of a bidding package, but the contractors did not pay them fully even after the highway was opened to traffic. 
The workers reported to some relevant agencies, but the companies still ignored their request, prompting them to take to the streets. 
Le Kim Thanh, director of the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway project’s management board, told Thanh Nien it is investigating the workers’ claims. 
The 245-km highway passes through Hanoi and the provinces of Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai.
Costing nearly US$1 billion, the highway will reduce travel time between Hanoi and the resort town of Sa Pa and the Lao Cai International Border Gate.

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