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17 Nov 2022

Le Tuyet, VnExpress

Vietnam: Workers forced to cut meals as factories dismiss workers over reduced orders

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"Year-end layoffs force frugal life on thousands of factory workers", 17 November 2022

"Have you found a new job?" For the last 10 days, this has invariably been the question on every worker’s lips at a residential block in HCMC's District 12.

Located on Le Van Khuong Street, the block has over 40 rooms and the majority of tenants are workers of garment factory Sun Kyoung Vietnam, which is 100% South Korean-owned.

Early November this month, the company declared that it will cease operations because partners had suddenly canceled all orders. This meant the dismissal of around 830 employees. Ten days after it made the closure announcement, the company made its final payments to the workers.

"I received a total of VND12 million ($484.26) as October salary and financial support," said Chau Thi Ha, a 32-year-old Tra Vinh native who worked at the factory for more than two years...

Her husband, Le Tran Vinh, has also been let go after his factory didn't receive any new order for two months. He had worked for the Rafi Plastic Company in HCMC's District 12 for more than two years. The factory began to lay off staff in September...

Her family now only eats one meal a day and their dinner consists mainly of rice. They also go to bed late to avoid getting hungry too early the next morning and eat instant noodles if they are too famished.

Thousands of workers are caught in circumstances similar to Ha and her husband.

Nguyen Thi Lai, 23, started working as a product tester for a local textile company recently after losing her job at Sun Kyoung Vietnam.

Her husband, Duong Van Bau, a 37-year-old construction worker, was laid off by the company due to a lack of work.....

Tran Thi Dien, 49, who had worked at Sun Kyoung for three years...said landing a good job at this time would be "more joyous than winning the jackpot."

After being laid off, she was hired as a seasonal worker by a private sewing company. Her job was to add buttons to children's clothing for VND280 per finished item.

She only took small breaks to drink water, but could only finish 100 pieces on her first day. She was paid VND28,000.

"I don't know how I can survive with such a meager income," she lamented, adding that she resigned from that job because she couldn't keep up...

"I never thought I'd see the day when so many of my neighbors are jobless," Dien said.

Hundreds of employees of Taiwanese shoemaker Ty Hung are living in despair on Ho Hoc Lam Street in Binh Tan District, more than 20 kilometers from the Sun Kyoung Vietnam garment factory. Many of them lost their jobs unexpectedly.

Because it does not have enough orders, Ty Hung will terminate contracts with about 1,200 employees on December 1. Many of the employees are planning to look for new work at nearby factories in HCMC or back in their hometowns...

Nguyen Van Lam, deputy director of HCMC's Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, remarked recently that the ongoing global economic decline, particularly in several European countries, has hurt many footwear and textile companies.

Some factories in HCMC are laying off workers, while many others are reducing their employees' working hours to avoid paying overtime, he said.

Over 240,000 workers, mainly in the garment, footwear and wood processing industries, are underemployed now as factories do not have enough orders.

Part of the following timelines

Global: Garment workers face mass layoffs, suspended employment & reduced working hours as suppliers report reduced & cancelled orders from brands amid cost-of-living crisis

Vietnam: Over 800 garment workers dismissed after factory closes due to buyers reportedly cancelling all orders; incl. co. responses

Vietnam: Over 1000 garment workers laid off at Ty Hung factory due to lack of orders; incl. co. responses