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The Vietnam News

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Probe begins into Jordan police action against Vietnamese workers

Vietnamese and international organizations have been on fact-finding missions to W&D Apparel Corp in Jordan where the Vietnamese media reported over 200 striking Vietnamese workers were beaten up by police last week.

The International Organization of Migration, Jordan’s Labor Ministry, and U.S. Foreign Ministry’s Boat People SOS Committee, during a visit last Wednesday, reported seeing 200 female workers bruised and weak from hunger. The factory’s owners were unconcerned about the workers’ conditions and even prevented its representative from entering the area where there was reportedly evidence of the police’s attack, the IOM said further. It had admitted five of the Vietnamese workers at a hospital for treatment, and said it would consider sending food to the hungry workers.

Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted an IOM representative as saying Wednesday that the organization had forwarded evidences about the factory’s and the police’s ill-treatment to the Jordanian Labor Ministry. The Ministry had promised to protect the workers, the official added. Vietnam has sent Nguyen Viet Tien, its deputy consul-general in Cairo, Egypt, to Jordan to look into the situation. The workers went on strike in mid-February seeking better pay and fewer working hours as promised in their labor contracts. The IOM said nearly 167 workers had asked to quit their jobs to return home but had been savagely beaten up in response.

Head of the Overseas Labor Management Bureau, Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, said the bureau would help the workers return if they wished. Over 200 Vietnamese have been working in the factory since September 2007 under a contract between Jordan’s W&D and Vietnam’s Coal Corporation and Leather and Footwear Corp. Six officials from the two Vietnamese firms have flown to Jordan to investigate the issue. More than 470,000 Vietnamese nationals work in 40 countries and territories around the world.

Tuoi Tre - March 1, 2008.