The families of 55 Vietnamese workers who are stranded in Algeria after being allegedly assaulted by Chinese colleagues and not paid by their Chinese employer Thursday asked the labor ministry to help bring them home.
At a meeting with ministry officials, their families said it has been one month since the company sent more than 200 workers with canes and other weapons to assault the Vietnamese workers, but not much has been done to resolve their problem by Vietnamese authorities.
The workers had been sent to work at a construction site in the North African country by the Hanoi-based Simco Song Da JSC in July.
They signed a contract for wages of US$550-650 a month.
But after a month the company fixed a daily quantum of work a worker had to finish to receive payment.
The Vietnamese workers objected to the new condition and went on a wildcat strike on September 15.
The next night the company set up the alleged assault in which three of the Vietnamese were severely injured.
The company then stopped providing food to the workers.
On October 8 Simco Song Da officials promised the workers’ families they would resolve the problem. They sent representatives to Algeria and gave the workers some money to buy food. One of the workers, Cao Van Nhan, said $200 was given for their group of 16.
The representatives told the workers to continue working while waiting for the company to settle the issue.
Nhan said that on October 14 the company refused to provide them food and has not paid their wages either.
The money given by Simco has been spent on food and the workers did not know how they would survive, he said.
The 16 have sent a plea for help, saying their only wish is to come back home.
Le Thanh Ha, an official at the Department of Overseas Labour Management, said the Vietnamese embassy in Algeria would be asked to provide food to the workers.
The department is coordinating with the labour company to bring the workers home and ensure they are paid, he said.