Vietnam now has nearly 300 industrial zones that employ about 2.8 million workers.
A survey by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor shows that the lives of these workers haven’t improved on par with what they have contributed to national construction and development. Vietnam needs to create social institutions to improve the lives of workers in industrial zones.
Over the years, workers’ living standards have been a matter of concern to administrations at all levels. But little has been done to improve the lives of people working in industrial or processing zones.
They have few opportunities to participate in cultural or entertainment activities. A dull life is common among young workers.
Nguyen Ngoc Trung, who works at Yamaha Vietnam in Hanoi’s Thang Long Industrial Zone, told VOV: “Every day I work 8 to 12 hours. When I come home, what I want is to go to bed after a bath and dinner. I don’t watch TV. Sometimes, I read news on my phone to find out what happened during the day. Then I fall asleep.”
For years, the Party and government have promulgated policies to improve the cultural and spiritual lives of workers in industrial and processing zones.
Trade unions in Dong Nai province have launched activities to improve the lives of workers as instructed by the Party Central Committee Secretariat. Dong Nai is one of the provinces with the highest number of workers, more than 950,000 people.
Nguyen Thi Quynh Nhu, who has worked for 20 years for Tae Kwang ViNa Joint Stock Company in Bien Hoa Industrial Zone 2, said she feels secure working there because of a stable income, good working conditions, and policies benefiting workers’ spiritual lives.
In addition to a salary of US$383 a month, Nhu and her co-workers also receive allowances for petrol and accommodations, and bonuses for seniority and extra work.
Nhu says Tae Kwang ViNa regularly organizes cultural, arts, and sports programs during holidays, and provides regular medical check-ups and free reproductive health counseling, and legal advice.
She said: “The trade union of Tae Kwang ViNa Company regularly organizes meetings with workers to provide us legal advice and answer questions about the Labor Code and the Law on Social Insurance.
Any questions which remain unanswered are cleared up by the trade union president. For controversial issues, the trade union will hold a meeting.”
Trade unions in Dong Nai determine workers’ true aspirations and act on their behalf to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that benefit them. More than 60% of the businesses in Dong Nai province have signed collective bargaining agreements.
Most of the 2.8 million workers in the industrial zones come from other provinces. They rent accommodations, which often lack the most basic amenities.
The General Confederation of Labors has worked with ministries and agencies to develop a pilot project to create cultural and entertainment opportunities for industrial and processing zone workers in 15 provinces.
Vu Manh Tiem, Deputy Director of the Department of Communications and Education of the General Confederation of Labor, said: “The pilot project is focused on building facilities where workers can come for entertainment, conferences, communications programs, and medical check-ups. The General Confederation of Labor has been assigned to construct more such facilities in 50 localities. Some will also provide accommodations for workers. Housing models in Binh Duong province cover 40 square meters and cost about US$4,500, which workers can pay off over 15 years.”VOV5