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Garment companies cannot find workers, workers cannot find jobs   2009-06-17 - VietNamNet/KTDT

There’s a paradox in the garment industry: while garment companies cannot recruit enough workers, many workers remain unemployed. A lot of garment companies have to farm out the contracts they have got to others because they cannot fulfill the orders with the current labour shortage.


The deputy general director of Norfolk Hatexco, a firm in Ha Nam province near Hanoi, said that she is seeking to recruit some 400 workers. The company has placed advertisement pieces in local newspapers and looked for workers at job fairs, but it has not recruited enough workers.


Many other garment companies in the Dong Van Industrial Zone also seriously lack workers


A personnel officer of Hanosimex said that his company wants to recruit 100 workers, offering a salary of 2 million dong per month, which he thinks relatively attractive.


“Workers just need to show professional skills to be employed – they don’t have to compete for jobs as before,” he said, adding that even with such easy conditions, the company still has not been able to recruit enough workers over the last several months


The serious shortage of workers has forced many garment companies to recruit untrained applicants and offer attractive salaries.


At the Nam Thanh Company, unskilled recruits can get 100 percent support in training fees, get 500,000 dong and get free meals and housing for a one month probationary period. If they are then regularly employed, workers will be paid in accordance with their output, sign labour contracts with the company and enjoy social insurance and other policies as stipulated by the Labour Code.


At another company, Ladoda, workers can get 2-4 million dong in pay per month and stay in company dormitories.


According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vinatex), a lot of garment companies have orders from foreign partners that will keep them busy until the end of the second or third quarter of 2009. However, lacking staff, many of them ask Vinatex to help them find workers. Some companies are farming out work contracts to other capable companies.


The worker shortage has become so serious that Vinatex has called for help from provincial labour departments.  At some enterprises, there has been a 50 percent decrease in the labour force since the end of 2008.


Thuy of Norfolk Hatexco said that while companies cannot find workers, many people remain jobless. She explained that after enterprises lay off workers, many of the workers return to their home villages. Enterprises do not know where to find them when they seek to resume normal production.


However, analysts believe that the main problem here is the low salary for garment workers. With average pay of 1.5 million to two million dong a month, workers cannot afford their basic needs (room rent, meals). Meanwhile, workers in garment industry are regarded as having to work harder but get lower pay than workers in other industries.


Meanwhile, enterprises said that they cannot pay more for workers while the export prices stay the same. Garment companies that have just got orders after a period of stagnation due to the economic crisis dare not raise export prices, or they will lose customers.  Vietnam-made products now have to compete fiercely with products made in China.

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