Efforts to help labour-intensive industries retain employees

December 26, 2022 - 08:33
The entire global market is facing difficulties due to decreasing demands induced by a recession, according to Lê Tiến Trường, chairman of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
Workers at a textile factory in Bình Chánh District, HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt

HCM CITY — In the hope of recovery, businesses are making great efforts to maintain production and retain staff amid an economic slump.

Not only the labour-intensive textile industry of Việt Nam, but the entire global market is facing difficulties due to decreasing demands induced by a recession, according to Lê Tiến Trường, chairman of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).

In addition to the increasingly stringent requirements for a production price reduction, faster delivery and higher quality, brands are demanding that businesses in the supply chain follow multiple policies on sustainability, green practices, energy saving and emission limiting.

Trường told Người lao động (Labourer) newspaper: “An important solution for the textile industry today is to elevate its position in the supply chain, in order to respond to the needs of long-term, reputable partners.

“Therefore, they must retain highly qualified workers to be able to respond to demands when the market recovers.”

Member enterprises from HCM City Association of Garment, Textile, Embroidery and Knitting (AGTEX) are also seeking solutions to maintain production and keep employees on their payroll, with the aim of not having any workers laid off due to the shortage of orders.

AGTEX chairman Phạm Xuân Hồng said that nearly 70 per cent of these firms were affected due to a 20 to 30 per cent drop in orders, the majority of which are exports.

The remaining 30 per cent of these businesses still see a stable volume of orders.

Hồng said: “As of right now, AGTEX businesses are not working overtime, and they even reduce the working hours to sustain production and help provide work to its staff.

“They are also seeking smaller orders and production partnerships to ensure income for labourers.”

The average bonus for Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday for workers is 1.5 times the monthly salary. Some businesses opt to divide this payment into two parts, one paid a month before Tết and the other half a month after the holiday.

Nguyễn Ngọc Lân, general director of Nhà Bè Garment JSC, one of the larger corporations that were less affected by the economic downturn, said that his company still maintains the productive atmosphere in the factories despite shortened working hours.

Lân said: “It will help reassure workers to return after Tết, while also ensuring that the factories catch up with the production schedule right after the market recovers.

“Maintaining production will also help strengthen the confidence of major brands, giving them more peace of mind when ordering from Vietnamese businesses.”

Amid the fluctuations of the labour market before the Tết holiday, HCM City’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is focusing on reviewing employment demands, while also proactively working with neighbouring cities and provinces to organise job fairs prior to and after the holiday.

According to the department’s deputy director Nguyễn Văn Lâm, surveys revealed that many people wanted to stay in the city and find new jobs, while others don’t have the intention to seek employment immediately and would wait until after Tết.

Usually, after Tết is when people return to the city to seek new employment opportunities or change jobs.

Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said that the case where workers are laid off or have their working hours reduced at the end of the year is only taking place in several places and sectors.

However, layoffs in some labour-intensive industries such as textiles and footwear have had a negative impact on the general labour market, which has just recovered after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vi Thị Hồng Minh, deputy director of VCCI bureau of employer activities, said that connecting unemployed people to job opportunities is only a temporary solution.

In the long term, there must be support policies for businesses to retain employees.

A VCCI survey also stated that many businesses want to keep staff on the payrolls, but the financial pressure proves to be too much for them to bear.

Therefore, governmental policies are needed for simplified procedures, diverse credit sources, and relaxed requirements for easier access to financial support in order for businesses to retain their staff.

Another suggestion is to reduce trade union fees and extend the payment period for social insurance so that enterprises have more resources to maintain their production, which also helps with staff employment. — VNS