The labor ministry will order an inspection of salaries at the state utility Electricity of Vietnam, Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen told the press on the sidelines of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Chuyen made the statement after EVN Director General Pham Van Thanh last week caused a stir with his claim that the monthly salary of VND7.3 million (US$347) isn't enough for his employees to make ends meet.
"It is unrealistic to say that the monthly salary of VND7.3 million isn't enough for living," the minister said. At most businesses, workers receive VND2 million ($95), which is "quite ok" for their living, she stressed.
On November 19, at a meeting to discuss EVN's losses, Thanh said his employees were paid VND7.3 million per month in 2009, which he said is too low and that he is "heartbroken" about it.
The statement soon provoked objections from the public and media, given that an EVN worker's salary is considered among the top salaries in the state-owned sector.
People also questioned the reason for such a high salary at the corporation, which posted losses of VND10,162 billion ($483.9 million) in 2010, and now is at risk of facing similar huge losses this year.