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Transport workers all at sea   2012-07-21 - VIR

Economic vulnerabilities have thrown transport sector workers into dire straits.

By May 31, 18,582 transport sector labourers were idle due to a lack of work, of them 7,800 belong to disgraced state ship builder Vinashin, according to a Ministry of Transport (MoT) report.

At the sector’s 430 construction firms, approximately 7,000 workers are currently sitting on their hands.

At many firms, each of the out of work labourers gets VND1 million ($47) per month. Even at the Waterways Construction and Dredging Company No. 1, only 20 out of its 247 labourers go to work, while all remainder rest at home without pay.

A transport sector Trade Union executive said the labourers having to stay at home without pay due to work shortages have been expanding in recent months.

For instance, 2,200 labourers at Vinalines now sit idle, many of them are senior technicians and crew members once getting incomes of over VND10 million ($500) per month.

Many experienced engineers at MoT’s diverse project management units and consulting firms left jobs due to meager incomes.

The average income of VND4.3 million per month for workers still having jobs has placed transport sector labourers near the bottom in the labourers’ pay-scale.

In the construction area, the government bond package worth around VND10,000 billion ($476 million) earmarked to the sector in 2012 is reportedly just enough to pay back completed work volumes from previous years.

In the mechanical engineering area, the job situation is also critical. Vinashin has yet to get any large orders for shipbuilding whereas the group revenue in the first five months of 2012 was merely VND480.9 billion ($23 million), tantamount to 5.1 per cent of the year’s projection.

Retaining skilled labourers is currently one of the greatest challenges.

“Albeit firms are now at the nadir in the development circle, our responsibility is to bring opportunities for firms to revive. That is because in the coming period they are crucial forces to generate transport infrastructure breakthroughs,” said the transport sector Trade Union deputy chairman Doan Van Buu.

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