Vietnam's government promises safe return for workers abused in Algeria

Thanh Nien News

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Families of workers in Algeria meet with labor officials asking them to bring the workers home. Photo credit: VnEconomy Families of workers in Algeria meet with labor officials asking them to bring the workers home. Photo credit: VnEconomy

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Vietnam’s prime minister has ordered related agencies to bring home workers who were allegedly starved and assaulted by their Chinese employer in Algeria after a wildcat strike. 
The government has instructed the foreign and labor ministries to work with Algerian authorities to protect workers from the abuse, which has been going on since September 16. 
It ordered SIMCO Song Da, the Hanoi-based labor exporter, and the labor ministry to discuss with the Chinese employer to ensure safe returns for Vietnamese workers who no longer want to work in Algeria. The employer has reportedly refused to release the workers' travel papers. 
The Hanoi company sent 55 workers to Algeria to work at a construction site in July. Most of the other workers there are Chinese.
They signed in a contract to work eight hours a day. But after a month, the Chinese company unilaterally changed that policy and set a fixed amount of workload for the workers which they had to finish to receive payments.
The Vietnamese workers objected to the new policy and started a wildcat strike on September 15. They were then starved and beaten.
Their plight was only reported after their families in Vietnam sent a plea for help to local media in early October, which prompted the company to bring home two Vietnamese heavily injured. 
On October 15, the families met with officials from the labor ministry to ask for help as the workers continued to call home in tears, expressing their wish to return. They said the Chinese boss kept starving them.

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