Women fight to make use of targeted pandemic support

July 16, 2021 | 13:57
The global health crisis has created significant challenges for almost all businesses, but ensuring the rights of employees, especially female workers, in this difficult period seems to have become the responsibility of not only enterprises but also state agencies and international organisations.
Women fight to make use of targeted pandemic support
Female workers have received support from several organisations in the country, including the Embassy of New Zealand

Nguyen Thi Nguyet, a worker at apparel maker OneChang Vina Co., Ltd., has to travel more than 10km to the company every day. It takes only 30 minutes for a healthy person to travel this distance, but Nguyet takes much longer because of an arm disability.

Nguyet is currently the main economic breadwinner in the family. In addition to three small children and an elderly mother, she also has to take care of the family on behalf of her ill husband.

Nguyet said that her husband was previously a builder, but due to illness, he has mainly stayed at home for nearly four years. The family’s financial situation became more difficult when the pandemic appeared, and Nguyet has no way to increase her income due to her disability.

“If my arm was healthy, I would have the ability to do many other things, and my income could also increase to $350. But now I only get $220,” said Nguyet.

Nevertheless, she is happy to still have a job and get paid by the company. Last May, she worked for only 16-17 days but still received over $170.

Along with Nguyet, many female employees working at OneChang Vina and many other companies have been threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic such as in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Hanoi. However, they have managed so far to keep their jobs and incomes.

According to Luong Mai Loan, manager of the leather factory of Lecas Co., Ltd., over 30 female employees currently working at Lecas are fortunate that their jobs and income have not been adversely affected.

Loan shared that her company produces leather fashion items such as bags, wallets, and belts, which have seen a drop in sales since the pandemic started. Although sales have decreased for more than a year and the company also had to close a showroom, no employee has had to quit or have their income reduced.

“Except for two weeks of social distancing in April last year, we have not had to take a day off. There are orders that are not profitable, but the company still offers bonuses for employees who have to work overtime to keep up with the delivery schedule,” Loan said.

“I know there are companies operating in the same field that are dozens of times larger than Lecas. These have had to arrange employees to work less and reduce their incomes by half,” Loan added.

Mai Pham, CEO of Lecas, shared she always tries to maintain jobs for employees, because in this industry, a worker has to work for many years to understand the spirit of the product.

Despite the commitment from businesses, female workers continue to be affected by the pandemic. But they also receive support from international organisations and foreign embassies in Vietnam.

For instance, the New Zealand Embassy has coordinated with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour to provide immediate financial support for 420 female workers from factories in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh which have been economically affected by the recent outbreak.

Bac Giang and Bac Ninh have many large industrial zones and manufacturing plants, including some for Apple and Samsung.

Since the latest wave of the pandemic at the end of April, many provinces and cities have been severely affected, with Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Ho Chi Minh City hit the hardest.

A total of 270 female workers in Bac Giang province and 150 in Bac Ninh province have been provided with over $40 each in cash to help cover some of their immediate needs. This assistance aims to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic while factories had to close and they did not receive salaries.

New Zealand’s Ambassador Tredene Dobson said that the embassy’s fund has supported around 3,000 women across Vietnam to overcome the consequences of COVID-19 in the past 12 months. Five projects under the fund have already contributed nearly $43,000 for women in Hanoi, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Hue, Danang, Binh Duong, and Ho Chi Minh City.

As one of the beneficiaries of this programme, Nguyen Thi Van, a worker of Viet Pan Pacific International Co., Ltd. said, “The pandemic causes huge trouble for my family. My husband is an F0 and I am an F1. The whole family has had no source of income for more than a month, and my son has a serious illness and is waiting for a surgery. This support not only helps my family endure hardships, but also makes us feel that we are not alone when there are still many individuals and organisations willing to help us.”

By Hoang Oanh

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