Nearly one thousand workers went on strike on April 8 against alleged mistreatment and the unreasonable policies of a Korean company in Hanoi.
Nearly 1,000 workers gathered in front of Doojung Company
The workers at Doojung Vietnam, located in Phu Nghia Industrial Park, Chuong My District, said they had been forced to work extra 110 to 120 hours per month, with no vacations or breaks.
One worker, Nguyen Thi Nhat said, "I was paid only an extra VND18,000 (USD0.86) an hour for my overtime work.". According to the contract I signed, I could take off Sundays but had to then work from 7am Saturday to 8am Sunday."
Another worker at the plant said, "We are all so exhausted from the job, but whenever somebody asked for a reduction in overtime they were fired," adding that any employee who requested time off for weddings, family issues or sickness, they were also terminated.
Pregnant women complain of unbearable overtime
The contracts themselves pledged to adhere to Vietnamese labour law, but workers say that, in practice, this was completely ignored. For example all maternity leave rights, as well as those for mothers with children under two were not respected, workers said.
One issue especially difficult for women workers was that they were contractually bound not to get pregnant in their first three years of employment.
During the strike, many workers complained that after they quit the company refused to return their social insurance papers, while the social insurance company claimed that Doojung had never registered papers for these individuals in the first place. Strikers were shocked to hear this, as they were under the assumption that they had contributed to the system and were expecting benefits.
Guards refuse entry
Complaints filed with the union by employees led to no resolutions, but only threats to the workers.
Company officials refused to comment on the matter, and private guards refused entrance on the premises even to district officials and police.
Workers also said that they were made to memorise the phrase, "We have parents at home, but we must learn to consider company managers as new parents."