Low incomes place workers under stress: study

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Low incomes and living far away from home are important factors in rising stress levels among workers, local newspaper Tuoi Tre quoted a study as saying Monday.


The study, conducted by Dao Thi Duy Duyen, shows 16.4 percent of 378 surveyed workers said they suffered frequent stress, while 60.6 percent said they do so occasionally.


Apart from financial problems and homesickness, love affairs were also a stress factor, said the study, which was conducted at Ho Chi Minh City's main industrial zones Tan Tao, Vinh Loc and Tan Thuan in June.


Workers, especially those who work at night shifts, suffered from headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure and had other symptoms like pains in the bones and joints that are caused by abnormal working hours, Duyen told Tuoi Tre.


Stress and dissatisfaction at the workplace leads to drinking, using drugs, smoking and being absent from work, she said.


Workers under stress are easily exhausted and hot-tempered, and at high risk of workplace accidents, she added.


Once a worker doesn't feel motivated, it affects others and the whole production set-up will feel the impact, Duyen warned.


Agreeing with Duyen, Dr. Dinh Phuong Duy, chairman of HCMC Education and Psychology Association, said without proper solutions, stress among workers will affect not only a group of people, but will spread further into the community.


It will become a social problem, affecting the economy's production efficiency, Duy stressed.


In an interview with Tuoi Tre, Cu Phat Nghiep, chairman of workers' union at Pou Yuen Enterprise Ltd. in Tan Binh District, said it was true that workers are suffering stress due to hard work, low income and financial difficulties.


"I think it's time companies cooperated with the community in caring more about workers' lives, because once stress affects workers, it won't be good for both parties," Nghiep said.


Pham Thi Trang, director of HCMC Workers' Support Fund, said recreational activities for workers were still insufficient and boring, despite some organizations and companies making some efforts to improve them.


Huynh Ngo Tinh, director of HCMC Center for Supporting Young Workers, suggested companies improve salaries and support policies for workers, while the community comes up with recreational activities that are free for low-income people.


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