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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Businesses, localities seek to bring workers back to work

By Van Ly

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HANOI – Businesses and local authorities from the southern cities and provinces are trying to bring workers back to work, especially migrant workers who have gone back to their hometowns, in order to help production recover after several months of Covid-19 restrictions.

Right after HCMC relaxed social distancing measures and travel restrictions early this month, many migrant workers have rushed back to their hometowns in the Mekong Delta and the North by motorbike.

According to the Dong Thap Province Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the province has some one million laborers, including more than 174,000 people working in the southern cities and provinces. The province is seeing thousands of workers returning from HCMC and Binh Duong.

Mai Huu Tin, chairman of the Binh Duong Business Federation, said if migrant workers in the province continue to return to their hometowns, the province’s industrial workforce may shrink by half in the coming time.

Tran Thanh Trong, general director of the Sang Ban Mai Joint Stock Company, an electrical equipment producer in Binh Duong Province, said the company maintained its production during the social distancing period by applying the stay-at-work mode. Workers that were unable to work at the factory were still given VND4 million a month.

“Therefore, we are prepared to ask workers to come back to work. We have resumed our production and are trying to finish 50% of the backlog. We are also recruiting more workers to increase our manufacturing capacity,” Trong said.

Nguyen Thanh Thanh, director of the management board of the Long An Province Economic Zone, said to encourage workers to come back, businesses should adjust their policies and improve welfare policies for the workers.

According to Thanh, during the three months of suspension, a company with over 35,000 workers in the province spent some VND270 billion per month to pay the salaries to its workers. Therefore, when the company resumes operations, the workers will be willing to return to work.

For businesses with a weak financial capacity that were unable to pay their workers’ salaries during suspension, there are other ways for them to bring workers back to work.

They can offer bonuses to workers who have worked for them for a long time, improve salaries in the short or long term and cover the meals of workers that stay at the factories.

Tran Thien Long, vice chairman of the HCMC Association of Industrial Businesses, said enterprises need support from the local authorities to bring workers back to work.

According to Long, the localities should accelerate Covid vaccination for workers, especially the second dose, for more than 100,000 workers at industrial parks and export processing zones in HCMC.

Long also suggested localities work together to facilitate the travel of workers when they come back to industrial hubs from their hometowns.

On October 4, Dong Nai Province issued a document on new travel regulations for workers and experts in the province.

Accordingly, workers are allowed to travel between their homes and factories without a travel permit. They only have to carry a travel card provided by their companies.

The province has also allowed many businesses with a total of more than 17,500 workers to put an end to the stay-at-work mode, which means that their workers are not required to stay at the factories.

In Binh Duong Province, workers that have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine or fully recovered from the disease in the last six months can return to work.

When new Covid-19 cases are detected, businesses have to quarantine only a part of their factories, instead of the entire factory.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh on October 3 signed a directive on restoring production in industrial production areas, which asks local governments to work closely with businesses to reach an agreement on plans to resume the production and circulation of goods, travel and accommodation of workers as well as plans to ensure pandemic prevention and control.

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