Workers in the southern Binh Duong Province urged the government to implement price control measures to ensure that the next year minimum wage increase would significantly improve their lives.
The province is one of the country’s largest industrial hubs.
The National Wages Council voted in support of a 12.4 per cent minimum wage increase yesterday, after VGCL, which represented the labour force, and VCCI, which represented the business sector, could not reach a consensus.
With the increase in minimum wages, the monthly wages of millions of workers in the country will increase by VND250,000 to VND400,000 (US$11-$17.5) next year, as compared to this year.
Not all of them, however, were entirely convinced that the wage increase would be as effective if living expenses such as rent and food were allowed to rise freely.
“Measures must be taken to control everyday expenses, especially rent and food, as wage increases alone will not improve workers’ living standards,” Le Thi Bich Hoa, a worker from the Viet Huong 1 Industrial Zone, said.
There were approximately 550,000 workers living in more than 182,000 rented apartments in the province, the Binh Duong Labour Federation said.
The rents for these apartments range from VND800,000 to VND1 million (US$35-44) per month. The landlords increase the rent every time there is a wage increase.
“Wage increase also means rising living expenses. Without effective measures being taken to control prices, the increase in wages will not have a significant impact on workers’ lives,” Nguyen Thi Hang from the Dong An 1 Industrial Zone said.
“It is a frustrating matter for both workers and local authorities to deal with. Sometimes, the landlords increase the rent in anticipation of a wage increase. We’ve asked the government on numerous occasions to implement a price control mechanism to enhance the effectiveness of wage increases,” Vice-President of the federation Nguyen Thien Phuoc said.
Phuoc said there was a genuine need to increase workers’ wages as the current wages of many workers were only able to cover 70 to 80 per cent of basic living costs.
“However, it is also important that workers understand the difficulties and challenges faced by their employers and are willing to help shoulder the hardship. After all, the businesses must survive and be able to grow to ensure workers’ long-term benefits,” Phuoc said.
In recent dialogues with provincial authorities, workers voiced their concerns over rising living costs with regard to the coming year’s wage increase. They also urged the establishment of more public kindergartens, improved social order and security as well as cultural enrichment activities.
news source & image credits: vietnamnews.vn