Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The HCM City Labour Federation and labour unions have offered free bus tickets to 43,000 disadvantaged workers to travel home for Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays from January 26 to February 1.
Of these, more than 4,800 bus tickets were for workers from central and northern provinces that had been seriously affected by flooding and storms. The rest were for poor workers and others who had not returned home for Tết for several years.
Hoàng Văn Trường and Trần Thị Nga from Nghệ An Province, who work at Freetrend Company Ltd in the Linh Trung Industrial Park No 1 in Thủ Đức District, were happy to receive free bus tickets and New Year’s greetings from the city leaders. Their two children also received free tickets.
“My family has not returned home for Tết over the past eight years, so we have been waiting for this day for a long time,” Nga said. “Today, my family goes back to my hometown to celebrate Tết with our grandparents and nothing is happier. I hope there will be more and more bus trips like this every year for workers to return home.”
Labour unions at industrial parks and export processing zones in the city have presented around 50 airline tickets and 1,200 train tickets to disadvantaged workers this year.
This is the ninth year of the annual charity programme called Sentimental Tickets, which has spent a total VNĐ24 billion (US$1.06 million).
Nguyễn Thị Quyết Tâm, chairwoman of the city’s People’s Council, has sent New Year’s greetings to workers and their families and wished them a happy Tết.
Tâm said that she hoped the workers would return to the city after Tết and continue to work and contribute to the city’s development, she said.
Under the programme, the first 52 buses transported about 2,200 disadvantaged workers at high–tech parks in District 9 last Sunday.
The city’s Labour Federation also organised a pre-Tết celebration for 600 families of workers on January 21.
Speaking at the celebration, Trần Kim Yến, chairwoman of the federation, said the workers had difficult circumstances such as job losses caused by companies that had dissolved, reduced business production, job-related accidents, and pregnancy or caretaking for infants.
The celebration aims to bring joy and warmth to the workers and their families on the threshold of a New Year, she said.
More than 1,800 family members of the 600 workers participated in a celebration called Get Together on Tết 2017 at the Labour Cultural Palace in District 1.
The families enjoyed a music programme to welcome Tết and took part in a lucky draw for valuable gifts.
Trần Thanh Hải, who is from Tây Ninh Province and is paraplegic, which was caused by a serious fever when he was three, works at Hiro International Export Co., Ltd.
Hải said he only returns home to Tây Ninh on Tết if he is allowed off from work before the 25th of Lunar December.
“This year, I borrowed a wheelchair from my friend to go near the stage of the programme to enjoy music and receive greetings and lucky money from the city leaders,” he said. “My wife has been pregnant for six months. My life will be become more difficult, but a baby is my dream. To my family, that is enough for Tết.”
Bùi Văn Cường, chairman of the Việt Nam Confederation of Labour and other city leaders, also sent New Year’s greetings and gifts to all families.
In Thủ Đức District, the district’s Federation of Labour, Youth Union, Labour Union and labour unions of companies organised a contest to make bánh tét (cylinder-shaped glutinous-rice cakes filled with green bean paste and pork) for local workers on Sunday.
The workers are living in groups at self-managed boarding houses and working at local industrial parks and export-processing zones.
The contest attracted 14 teams of a total of 70 workers. Each team was required to finish five bánh tét and five bánh chưng (square-shaped glutinous-rice cakes filled with green bean paste and pork) within 90 minutes to become the winner.
Making ochna and peach flowers and playing folk games were other activities.
On this occasion, more than 300 local workers also received gifts with a cost of VNĐ500,000 ($22) each.
On the same day, the Labour Federation of District 1 presented 131gifts, each costing VNĐ650,000 - VNĐ1.2 million ($28 - 53) to disadvantaged workers with difficult circumstances and or serious diseases.
Gò Vấp District’s Labour Federation and Labour Union and Woman’s Union held a pre-Tết celebration for 150 local workers on Sunday (January 22).
The local workers are members of groups at self-managed boarding houses who do not return home on Tết.
The celebration organised a year-end party, a music programme and presentation of gifts valued at VNĐ500,000 ($22) each. — VNS