Nguyen Xuan Duong from the Viet Nam Garment and Textile Association, spoke with Kinh te va Do thi (Economy and Urban Affairs) about the human-resource management struggle.
Are human resources more difficult in the garment and textile sector?
Workers in the textile sector tend to be more mobile because they can change jobs or employers when their demands aren't being met. But when employers provide a good income and long term progression, they can develop a strong attachment to the enterprise.
Recently, there were a number of workers resigning because an industrial park did not have a kindergarten or living quarters for married couples.
To deal with the issue, members of the Viet Nam Garment and Textile Group moved their factories to rural areas so that people could work closer to home.
Many enterprises also shortened training periods for workers from 9-12 months to short-term courses to provide more job and income.
Besides the reforms you've mentioned, are there other things enterprises can do to improve productivity?
Labour productivity and wages have doubled from the previously average wage of US$10 per day. Some production lines have even reached productivity worth $30 per day.
To help achieve this, the association organised training courses for improving skills and making them more productive. Production lines have been specialised and workers are using advanced technologies and techniques to improve productivity.
What are the challenges facing the garment and textile sector now?
The biggest challenge facing the sector is regional and global competition. The salary of Vietnamese workers is now higher than others countries within ASEAN while labour productivity remains lower.
Additionally, the Government's policies for the sector are not sustainable; particularly the regional minimum wage. The minimum wage is scheduled to increase by an average rate of 17-20 per cent each year and will burden enterprises.
Enterprises face many challenges in achieving their potential, managing their workforce and lifting productivity. Only wealthy enterprises are able to increase salaries during their first three-years' operation and push up labour productivity for long-term development.
What are your suggestions for the Government to support the development of this industry?
We want the Government to implement policies that will support the development of raw and auxiliary materials.
Enterprises also need to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that will be signed soon.
We also need stable wage policies because enterprises will find it difficult to adapt to the 17 – 20 per cent annual increases in wages. — VNS