Unofficial workers In Hà Nội struggle to survive pandemic

August, 21/2021 - 07:58

Thousands of unofficial workers who have lost their jobs and have no stable income are struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic in Hà Nội.

Workers stranded in a construction site in Hàng Buồm Street nearly a month since Hà Nội administration applied social distancing. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Thousands of unofficial workers who have lost their jobs and have no stable income are struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic in Hà Nội.

“I have not experienced this situation before,” said Nguyễn Văn Thế, a repairman in Hà Nội.

Thế has been the main breadwinner of his family since his wife gave birth to their son several years ago.

Since the fourth wave of the pandemic hit the capital, Thế has had to stay at home due to social distancing.

“We have to use our meagre savings to manage to survive during the pandemic,” he said. “Life is very hard.”

Not far from Thế’s tiny rented room, a group of builders live temporarily on a construction site.

Due to social distancing, their job at the site has been temporarily suspended.

“Our food is mainly dried fish and vegetables day after day,” a builder said. “We do not know how long we can manage."

Lò Thị Bống, a Thai-ethnic worker on a construction site in Hàng Buồm Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, said she and nine other workers on the site had been stranded there nearly a month since the city applied social distancing.

Bống said she left her home town in Điện Biên Province to earn a living in Hà Nội.

The money she earned was sent to her parents in her home town to bring up Bống’s two children.

“Now I cannot earn money, I also cannot send money to bring up my children,” she said. “I feel very worried."

Bống said she and the other workers often had to eat instant noodles.

“We only have rice to eat if there is a charity group giving it to us,” she said.

She wished the pandemic was over so that life go back to normal.

Đỗ Văn Chiến, a porter in Long Biên wholesale market, Ba Đình District, said he had lost his job due to social distancing.

The single father and his daughter were living on charity packages donated by kind-hearted people in recent days.

Support package

The People’s Committee of Hà Nội announced last Saturday that the city had decided to support ten groups of people affected by the pandemic.

Certain groups do not belong to the list of affected people receiving a support package from Government Resolution No 68.

Data from the city’s Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs Department show that more than 324,000 people will benefit from the city’s support, worth over VNĐ345 billion (US$15 million).

The beneficiaries of the support package include poor households; near-poor households; people receiving social allowance; people living in social protection centres; people serving the revolution; relatives of people serving the revolution; and war invalids.

Under the support package, the city also supports employees working at business households; those who have had to suspend work or take unpaid leave due to the pandemic; and employees working at business households that have had labour contract terminated but are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

The committee also approved a decision on July 21 to support unofficial workers in the city affected by the pandemic.

The decision said unofficial workers were eligible for support if they were legally residing in the city and had lost their jobs due to the pandemic from May 1 to December 31, 2021.

The support is worth VNĐ1.5 million (US$66) per person.

Unofficial workers must make a dossier and send it after the 15th day every month to the commune-level People's Committee where they reside for approval.

The dossier will be considered and approved within two days. — VNS