Workers get the axe after discovering maggots in company's lunch

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Workers at a Japanese-invested firm in the northern province of Ha Nam have accused the company of firing them for reporting the presence of maggots in their company-provided lunch.

The workers at Sumi Vietnam Wiring Systems Co., Ltd based in the Dong Van Industrial Zone said the first incident happened at 11 a.m. on June 25 when a worker discovered maggots in the soup.

Some other workers then found live maggots in the bananas served after lunch.

After the workers refused to eat their lunch, the company's management board admitted it was the fault of the food supplier and promised that no similar incident would happen.

However, three days later, the workers once again found maggots in the braised fish.

After the second incident, the company issued a notice saying it would assign 10 "inspectors" to monitor the food being distributed to workers during lunch.

It said workers finding maggots in their lunch set must come to the inspector to receive a new meal, rather than announcing the "discovery" (of maggots) themselves.

In another move, the company fired around eight workers who had previously found maggots in their lunch and voiced their protest, according to N.T.T., one of the eight workers.

"It is not against the law for us to protest the dirty food, but it is illegal for the company to unilaterally terminate labor contracts with us without specific reasons," she said.

Another worker named N.T.H. said she had been working for the company for two months and had found worms in the vegetables served during lunch several times.

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On Monday, Pham Quang Huy, chairman of the company's Labor Union, confirmed with Thanh Nien that maggots were found in the food on June 25.

He said the company which was hired to supply lunch sets to the workers was to blame and had been "punished."

However, Huy said it was not maggots, but worms, which were found in the food on June 28.

"After some workers said there were maggots in the braised fish, we then checked and found worms in the vegetables.

"Things just got worse when some workers incited others to protest and violated the company's regulations, so it was normal for the company to terminate their contracts."

Huy also said the Labor Union could not protect the workers in this case.

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