|Bình Dương lends a sympathetic ear to foreign investors’ complaints. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nam
NEW BÌNH DƯƠNG CITY — Bình Dương authorities on July 30 met with 80 executives from foreign enterprises based in the southern province to discuss the problems faced by their companies.
The executives asked about regulations pertaining to workers’overtime, complaining that they have had a lot of orders but not enough workers.
They did not dare ask their workers to work more than 300 hours a year though many of them would like to increase their income, and could not find more workers either, resulting in them having to refuse many orders, they said.
An official from the provincial Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs said: “The 2012 Labour Law stipulates that in many industries, including food, seafood processing, textile and garment and footwear, workers can be asked to work overtime of up to 300 hours a year.
“We recognise that enterprises need their workers to do more overtime and opinions are being collected for amending the law by the end of next year.”
The company executives were unhappy about the fact they could not find more workers and many of their existing workers lack skills, especially in this era of the Industry 4.0.
The labour official told them: “In recent years many provinces around Việt Nam have opened their own industrial parks and processing zones. It has reduced the number of workers migrating to Bình Dương Province.
“To cope with the situation, the department has tried to link up with job centres in the province to organise job fairs twice a month and the department will soon launch an online portal for recruitment.”
He said to provide vocational training the province had eight universities and colleges each, 13 professional secondary schools, and 58 vocational training centres.
“The number of vocational schools in the province is enough to supply skilled workers to enterprises. It is a fact that enterprises often seek skilled workers but don’t say specifically what kind of skills they need, and are not willing to co-operate with vocational schools to improve the quality of training.”
He said though the Labour Law stipulated that from this year all licensed foreign workers in Việt Nam must have social insurance, there was no guiding decree and so the department would not yet speak with enterprises about this issue.
“But for medical insurance, Bình Dương has two hospitals that are good enough to serve foreigners.”
From July 1, customs has stepped up oversight to keep out scrap imports after China banned them.
Many companies were worried their imports of raw materials could be labelled as scrap and rejected.
But an official from the Bình Dương’s customs department said: “Companies do not need to worry. The General Department of Customs will verify whether or not their imports are scrap before approving entry and has sent staff to receive the imports, shortening the clearance time from five to 10 days in the past to only two to four days.”
Provincial officials revealed plans to build social housing for workers coming from other provinces and cities by 2020.
A Department of Construction official said: “We will need around 2 million square metres of social housing for workers and low-income people by 2020. At present, 25 projects with 770,000sq.m are being built.”
Trần Văn Nam, Party Secretary of the province, said: “We fully understand the difficulties faced by women workers when they have children. But the province cannot afford to build kindergartens and schools for children of around one million emigrant workers.
“We have suggested that investors should build kindergartens and schools next to their factories to benefit their women workers, who might work at odd hours and no normal kindergarten can take care of their children.”
He said the province is taking care of all related administrative procedures to enable the companies to do this.
“It’s not easy because we have to see how to convert industrial land into land for education, what is profitable to investors, how we can get qualified teachers for such kindergartens …. That’s a lot of work, but we will try to complete the policy as soon as possible.”
Located in the Southern Key Economic Zone, the province ranks third in the country behind HCM City and Hà Nội in cumulative FDI with nearly $31 billion.
Last year it received $2.8 billion in FDI while in the first half of this year it has been $853 million.
Foreign companies account for 83 per cent of both its imports and exports.
“Bình Dương is now selecting the best investors, especially in the technology sector,” Trần Thanh Liêm, chairman of the province People’s Committee, said. — VNS