Producers strive for new solutions to retain workers

December 08, 2022 | 09:00
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Struggling with the sharp drop in orders and export market interest, production businesses that hire vast amounts of employees are nevertheless seeking solutions in an attempt to maintain jobs for all workers.

Tran Van Thanh, who works in a company manufacturing phone components in northern Bac Ninh province, said there has not been enough work since early October, so overtime is not available. The company has been encouraging employees to take days off as prescribed because they will not receive money for time off as in previous years.

Producers strive for new solutions to retain workers
Producers strive for new solutions to retain workers-illustration photo/ Le Toan

“With overtime, my income is VND10-11 million ($435-480) per month. Without it, my basic salary is only VND6.1 million ($265),” Thanh said, adding that the next Lunar New Year bonus is not expected to be as much as in previous years. He planned to apply for the remaining six days of leave alongside the holiday in order to return to his hometown early.

The same situation is also seen at textile and footwear factories.

To maintain enough jobs for workers every day, some businesses have been further exploring niche markets like Japan and South Korea, diversifying products, and training employees. “Our traditional items are leather footwear for women, and we are beginning to produce sports footwear to get more orders and jobs for employees,” said Nguyen Chi Trung, chairman of Gia Dinh Group JSC.

The local market is also a good choice for exporting businesses in this context. Lim Hong Jin, CEO at furniture producer Savimex JSC said, “We are still maintaining the number of employees, just cutting down the time of work. We are reaching out to potential new partners to partly offset the drop in revenues and trying to keep jobs for employees.”

Doan Tien Dung, CEO of Nam Ha Garment JSC, said that the common situation in textiles, garments, and footwear is happening as the US and European markets have reduced purchases during the economic crisis.

“In previous crises in 2008, or during the pandemic, orders decreased gradually, but this year it has occurred suddenly and in large quantities. The decrease in market demand leads to lower product prices and fewer jobs, so the income of workers drops,” said Dung.

Typically, at the end of each year, there are many orders to carry out and domestic orders would be refused – now, companies like Dung’s are competing fiercely to get local orders. He forecasted that the difficulties in export markets will last until the first half of 2023 at least.

Thanks to the good performance of the business in the first half of the year with some accumulative profits, Nam Ha Garment will try to provide Lunar New Year bonuses akin to a month’s salary for employees.

“In enterprises that use a lot of labour such as textiles and garments, the biggest asset is the employee, so we still have to find ways to retain them. The bonus is not a mandatory regulation, but it has become a standard amount for many years so we will try to deliver a bonus, even if it has to be smaller than usual,” added Dung.

In addition to businesses, state agencies are also following up on the movements of enterprises and the welfare of workers, as well as helping them to overcome difficulties. Binh Duong province’s Trade Union and Department of Labour, Invalids, and Social Welfare are looking to recruit employees and connecting them to businesses that need more workers.

In addition, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour proposed the government provide some policies or support to exporting businesses to retain employees and strengthen the disbursement of public investment projects to create more jobs.

Since Q3, about 200 exporting businesses in wood and furniture, footwear, and textiles in Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces reported a drop in orders, affecting 400,000 employees, and cutting down 40,000 workers entirely. In Ho Chi Minh City, more than 50,000 workers currently have to take a break or work alternate rotas, while around 2,600 have had to stop working altogether.

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