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Global crisis visits HCM City   2008-11-20 - Viet Nam News

he global financial meltdown is beginning to have an impact on the Vietnamese manufacturing sector.

In HCM City's industrial parks, where many manufacturers are based, the shrinking international market is pushing many export-oriented enterprises to the edge of collapse.

Executives of several firms have fled after being unable to pay workers for a long time.

Some have suspended production - like Sunrising Kim Vina, a garment maker in the city's Binh Tan District. It paid wages to its 400 workers and halted operations for the next four months. It is among four companies to do so in just Binh Tan.

Sunrising Kim Vina's main market is the US, which is at the epicentre of the global financial crisis. As a result, orders have dried up.

Tran Thi Xuan Lan, its human resources chief, complained that despite the suspension of work, the company has to bear a host of expenses like salaries, taxes, and generator rent.

"We have to collect overdue debts and regenerate capital to survive," she said.

Come Long Son Kim announced it would close down at the end of this month because of losses. More than 200 workers are awaiting wages and lay-off compensations.

Come Long Son Kim is probably the first company in the city's industrial parks to close down as a result of the spreading financial pandemic.

Its fate will be shared by Go Vap-based footwear maker Leaprodexim Saigon. Business conditions turned very adverse following the EU's anti-dumping tax, delayed payments by clients and dwindling orders, causing the company to go bust.

Bosses skip, workers suffer

Many firms have seen their executives flee after piling up a colossal wage debt to their workers. Among them are garment manufacturers Quang Sung Vina based in Go Vap District and Vina Haeng Woon Industries based in District 8.

They leave behind their workers in a pathetic state - out of work, no income, savings used up, and families to support.

Nguyen Thi Anh was laid off by Sunrising Kim Vina with a meagre compensation. She has been desperately seeking a job since. "There's no opening anywhere," Anh said forlornly.

Phuong, Anh's fellow worker, is worried about her family's future. With monthly rent, food and clothes, and tuition fees for the kids to be paid, she finds it hard to make ends meet.

"Now the whole family depends on my [xe om driver] husband's earnings, which is quite unpredictable."

No matter how low their compensations were, Anh and Phuong are still luckier than most others who were laid off without a dong. At Quang Sung Vina, where the executives fled, hundreds of workers have camped in the factory premises to stop the plant from being stripped of its assets. They are demanding liquidation of these properties to pay their wages.

Truong Lam Danh, an official at HCM City's Labour Union, said he had told his subordinates to provide affected workers basic financial and employment assistance.

He wants the city People's Committee to ensure assets at plants where the bosses have skipped remain intact.

City authorities have sought the Korean consulate's assistance in resolving disputes between workers and Korean bosses, and to persuade fleeing bosses to return and fulfil their obligations to the workers.

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