Industrial zone workers struggle with daily life
Although working hard everyday, workers in industrial zones still struggle with the necessities of life daily.
Nguyen Khac Trong, a worker at Suoi Dau Industrial Zone in central Khanh Hoa Province’s Cam Lam District, said that the average combined salary of him and his wife per month was over VND6 million (US$270).
It did not meet the spending needs of a family, he said
“With our current salaries, we cannot save any money because it is all used for daily spending that includes eating, school fees for my daughter and renting a house,” Trong told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
“We don’t have money to spend for treatment if one of us becomes ill,” he said.
In his 10sq.m rental house, there was only an old TV for entertainment after each working day, he added.
Nguyen Van Hung, a resident living in the central province of Phu Yen, working for Binh Tan Industrial Zone in Nha Trang City, shares a similar situation.
About VND4.5 million ($200), half the combined salary of Hung and his wife’s salary, was spent on taking care of his children in his hometown, he said.
“With VND1 million ($45) for renting a house and with the remainder left for daily spending, our lives are really difficult,” Hung said.
Workers at industrial zones were hoping that their minimum wage will be increased to help their lives become less difficult, he added.
A few workers find part-time jobs such as being a porter at markets to earn more money.
“I have no choice and have to try what I can to earn money for daily spending and to feed my newborn baby,” said Tran Ngoc Huan, a worker at Tan An Industrial Park in the central highland province of Dak Lak.
According to Khuong Huy Hoang, deputy chairman of the Labour Federation in Dak Lak Province, the current wage of VND3.5-4.6 million for workers is not fair.
The minimum wage should be at VND5 million per month to meet basic spending needs, Hoang said.
In some cases, labourers’ children have had to quit their studies because their parents don’t have enough money.
“Every cost falls upon my shoulders with only VND3 million a month, while my husband can’t work due to illness,” Nguyen Thi Kim Lieu, a worker at Can Tho Food Company, said.
Many labourers have worked at industrial parks for nearly ten years, but they have not been able to save any money.
Their dream is to have enough money to buy a small house. But how can they get there when they don’t earn enough for daily life?
According to a report of the Ministry of Construction, 20 per cent of workers at industrial zones have stable accommodation while the remaining 80 per cent have to rent houses.
Addressing a conference to review the construction sector in the first half of the year, minister Pham Hong Ha said building houses for workers in industrial zones will become more of a focus in coming times to improve the living conditions for labourers there.
The ministry was co-ordinating with planning and investment and finance ministries to implement a housing development programme, Ha said.
According to Ha, demand for social housing, particularly workers’ houses, is very high.
The land required for building social housing reached 10 million sq.m in 2015, but only 3 million sq.m was available, Ha said.
Housing development projects for workers in industrial zones should be developed comprehensively to include accommodation, kindergartens, entertainment areas and hospitals to help workers stabilise their lives, he said.