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The Vietnam News

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Thousands strike at Japanese company in Vietnam

HANOI - Nearly 5,000 factory workers have gone on strike at a Japanese company in the port city of Haiphong, about 100 kilometers southeast of Hanoi, a company official said Thursday. The employees of Yazaki Haiphong Vietnam Co, which produces electrical wiring for cars, began a wildcat strike Wednesday morning, demanding higher salaries and shorter hours, according to Dao Xuan Thu, chairman of the company’s chapter of the official state-run trade union.

‘The workers are claiming that the salary they are paid is not enough to live on,’ Thu said. ‘Some of them claim they have to work two shifts a day.’ Thu said the minimum monthly salary at the company is 1.2 million dong (about 75 dollars), among the highest of any company in the industrial park where it is located. ‘They haven’t returned to work today and I don’t know yet when they will,’ Thu said. Vietnam’s government-affiliated trade union generally plays a mediating role between management and workers, rather than leading strikes. City labor officials and representatives of the company are meeting to try to resolve the strike.

More than 10,000 Vietnamese went on strike last month, mostly in southern provinces. The period around Tet, the lunar New Year, which fell on February 7, has become a flashpoint for strikes in recent years. Vietnamese face extra expenses for holiday gifts and travel, as well as rapid inflation, which ran at over 10 percent in 2007. Vietnam’s official trade union says there were 541 strikes nationwide last year, involving 350,000 workers. Most of the strikes occurred at foreign-invested enterprises.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - February 14, 2008.