Workers struggle to live on salaries

VietNamNet Bridge – Nearly 17 per cent of workers complained their incomes are not enough to make ends meet, while over 38 per cent said they only survive on their incomes thanks to very careful spending, according to a salary survey by the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions under the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour.

The survey was conducted in late June and the findings were revealed last Friday at a workers' conference.

Two thousand employees of 60 companies in 12 cities and provinces, including Ha Noi, HCM City and central Quang Nam Province took part in the survey.

Among the respondents, nearly 21 per cent are university and college graduates, 17 per cent are graduates from vocational schools, 8 per cent received no vocational training and the rest received some training either in vocational centres or in their companies.

The survey also revealed that only 7 per cent of respondents said they can afford to save money from their monthly incomes.

Employees receive an actual monthly income of VND2.86 million (US$136) on average, while a typical family of three will need to spend at least VND4.6 million (nearly $220) per month to cover their food expenses, according to the survey.

Notably, over 52 per cent of workers in the leather and footwear industry said they are unsatisfied with their incomes, as they receive the lowest level of income at nearly VND2.6 million ($124) on average per month.

Employees in traffic and construction fields, however, received the highest monthly income of over VND3.5 million ($167).

The survey also revealed the average salaries for employees range from VND2.5 million ($119) to over VND3.3 million ($157) per month, depending on their regions and work fields.

In response, the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions said the Government needs to urgently issue the salary reform policy planning until 2020, to ensure the minimum salaries are sufficient for people to cover their daily expenses and feed their families.

Earlier in October, Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue said due to difficulties in the State budget balance, the Government may have to delay raising the minimum regulated salary, which was scheduled for the beginning of May next year.

Concerns were also raised over the quality of meals offered between work hours for workers. Although 95 per cent of companies gave their employees full or partial support for the costs of meals between work hours, an assessment of the Nutrition Institute recently revealed that the meals for people working in some industrial areas only meet about 90 per cent of workers' energy requirements.

Furthermore, 27 per cent of employees surveyed do not receive any support for meals between work hours because their companies are struggling to survive.

Dang Quang Dieu, head of the Institute of Workers and Trade Union, said a regulation forcing companies to provide proper meals for their employees is needed to ensure workers' health.