Vietnamese workers protest as Korean firm partially withholds Tet bonus

Thanh Nien News

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Workers strike at a Korean garment factory in Quang Nam Province on February 1. Photo: Van Dat Workers strike at a Korean garment factory in Quang Nam Province on February 1. Photo: Van Dat

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Nearly 900 factory workers at South Korean garment firm went on strike in central Vietnam, Monday, because the company announced plans to withhold 70 percent of their Lunar New Year bonus until after the holiday.
The workers in Quang Nam Province said they understood that the company planned to pay each employee a Tet bonus of up to VND2.69 million (US$121) -- the equivalent of one month's salary.
More recently, they learned the company would only give them 30 percent of the bonus before the holiday, which lands on February 8 this year, and slowly disburse the rest between now and April.
One worker said everyone at the factory had been looking forward to having that money for the holiday and 30 percent would leave them short.
A company representative said the firm is having “financial difficulties” and can't pay the whole bonus at once. The source added that the payout still dwarfs the VND200,000 ($9) most companies in the area pay their employees for the holiday.
“Our workers are not showing us sympathy,” the source said.
A local labor official said the company did not want the authorities to intervene and insisted on solving the dispute internally.
A survey conducted by the labor ministry found that among 13,178 businesses employing 2.4 million Vietnamese workers, Tet bonuses range between VND40,000 ($1.78) and VND624 million ($27,800).
The lowest and highest bonuses were paid by foreign-invested companies.

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