Vietnam deputy PM orders better labor policies given soaring strikes

TN News

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Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has ordered better labor policies because strikes continue to occur, with 2011 recording twice the number compared to the previous year.

Figures from the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs at a recent conference showed that factory workers in Vietnam went on 857 wildcat strikes during the first 11 months of 2011, news website Dan Tri reported Tuesday. A wildcat strike is a spontaneous strike not authorized by the labor union.

Nhan said at the conference that the number of strikes is a serious matter for society and labor authorities. He calculated that there are 16 strikes each week, which he said is a "worrying number."

"A study is needed to see if the strikes are a trend, and if it's local or national," Nhan said.

The deputy PM ordered the ministry to conduct a special project to prevent further wildcat strikes and report the results in March.

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He said the project should involve better care and payment to employees, which will help build a confident working staff and make the businesses more attractive to foreign investors.

The ministry report at the conference also admitted that most of the strikes occurred because the employers did not comply with labor regulations, such as not signing contracts, not paying social insurance, not providing legal paid leave.

The ministry said the workers were angry and did not care about losing their jobs when joining a wildcat strike.

According to the report, the number of wildcat strikes has been increasing over the years, with more than 4,100 since 1995. Most of them, or 75.4 percent, occurred at businesses invested in by Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

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Although 70 percent of the businesses have labor unions, the report said all the strikes were manipulated by extremist members instead of conducted in accordance with laws. Thus, many strikes led to bad consequences, such as fighting, asset destruction and even death.

In June 2011, a company guard in Hanoi drove into a crowd of workers engaged in wildcat strike, killing one of them and injuring  seven other workers, including two pregnant women.

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