Vietnam's minimum wage to increase $14-18 per month in 2015

By Minh Hung - Tran Tam, Thanh Nien News

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Many Vietnamese workers have complained they cannot afford basic living costs with low salary. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Many Vietnamese workers have complained they cannot afford basic living costs with low salary. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

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The National Wage Council agreed to recommend that the government increase Vietnam's minimum monthly salary by between VND300,000-VND400,000 (US$14-18) in 2015.
The draft proposal was approved by 64 percent of the agency’s members on Wednesday and 
 will be submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for approval next month.
The plan would raise the minimum wage to VND2.42-VND3.1 million ($114-146), Mai Duc Chinh, deputy director of Vietnam General Confederation of Labor told Thanh Nien News on the phone after the meeting.
The “maximum possible increase is VND400,000, exceeding last year's highest recomended increase of VND350,000,” he said.
Starting early this year, the minimum wage reached between VND1.9-2.7 million (US$90-128) a month. The variance was determined by the cost of living in a given worker's location.
Vietnam's per capita GDP climbed to US$1,890 last year, up 8 percent from 2012.
Several studies released during the annual 2014 Vietnam CEO Summit in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday revealed that the country suffers from high inflation and low salaries.
The conference, “Reshaping Strategic Priorities for Vietnam’s Large Enterprises in the Next Stage of 2014-2016,″ was jointly organized by VietNamNet news website and Vietnam Report JSC.
A number of major enterprises participated in the event.
Inflation hit 18.7 percent in Vietnam in 2011 -- three or four times higher than its neighboring countries. The Asia Development Bank forecasted that Vietnam’s inflation would hit 6.2 percent in 2014, much higher than Thailand's 2.4 percent, Singapore's 3 percent, Malaysia's 3.2 percent and China's 2.6 percent.
Salaries remain low in Vietnam, compared to neighboring countries.
According to the Japan External Trade Organization, the average monthly salary of a Vietnamese worker last year was $145 in Hanoi and $148 in Ho Chi Minh City, much lower than those in Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore (between $239-1,230).

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