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19 Feb 2020

Radio Free Asia

Vietnam: 5,000 workers strike for three days and accuse company of not properly quarantining returning Chinese workers

“In Vietnamese Company, 5,000 Strike as Chinese Coworkers Return from Holiday”, 18 February 2020

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continues in China and its immediate neighbors, an estimated 5,000 workers at a stuffed-animal manufacturer in Vietnam… staged a rare strike for three days on concerns that several of their Chinese coworkers were not being properly quarantined.

Vietnamese workers at the JY Ha Nam Company in Ha Nam province said that the five or six manufacturing specialists who returned to Vietnam from China… were not required to be quarantined for 14 days as mandated by the Vietnamese health ministry.

The strike ended… when the company’s leader met with the workers to confirm that the specialists would be quarantined for the mandated 14-day period. Workers said they would return to work…

 “The first group of Chinese workers who returned to Vietnam… are in stable condition now, but we want the ones who have returned over the past few days to also be quarantined,” a Vietnamese worker who requested anonymity told RFA’s Vietnamese Service prior to the strike being resolved.

“[The Chinese workers] should not have [physical contact] with Vietnamese workers,” the source said.

An official of the local government denied that a strike was occurring. Nguyen Van Khanh, of Ha Nam’s Thanh Liem district said that many of the workers were simply banding together to inquire if the specialists would be allowed to work without being quarantined.

But several Vietnamese workers pointed out that the previous group of returning Chinese workers were already working, so such an inquiry would make little sense.

The company began firing striking workers… the first day of the strike, but the workers refused to end the strike until their demands were met…