24,000 Vietnam workers strike at S.Korean plants

HANOI — Around 24,000 workers at two South Korean plants in Vietnam have gone on strike over pay, bonuses and lunar new year holidays, company staff and news reports said Friday.

At the Tae Kwang Vina footware company in southern Dong Nai province, almost 20,000 employees refused to work Thursday and Friday, a company employee told AFP, declining to be named.

She said management had agreed that the Tet lunar new year holidays could last eight days “but have not said anything regarding the requests for an increase in basic salary and Tet bonus”.

Tet falls on February 3 in 2011 and is the most important holiday for Vietnamese people.

The employee said basic salary at the South Korean owned plant is now 1.3 million dong a month (65 dollars). This is roughly in line with what the government says is the country’s average monthly income of 1.365 million dong.

Vietnamese consumers have been hit by rising inflation, which official figures released Friday said is estimated to have risen 9.2 percent year-on-year during 2010.

At the second South Korean owned factory, also in Dong Nai province, 4,000 workers from the Namyang garment company did not turn up for work on Thursday in a demand for higher wages, Thanh Nien newspaper said.

Company representatives were not immediately available for comment to AFP.

In principle, workers need permission 20 days ahead of time before going on strike in Vietnam, where all labour confederations are state-controlled.

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