Workers welcome salary increases, but emphasise need for price stability

June 06, 2024 - 08:30
The regional minimum wage will increase by six per cent from the beginning of next month, but alongside the joy of additional income, workers are worried about soaring market prices.
People choose food at the Phùng Khoang Market in Nam Từ Liêm District, Hà Nội. The State and the Government say that alongside increasing wages, they will control market prices well. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh

HÀ NỘI —The regional minimum wage will increase by six per cent starting next month, but this is not all joyful news. Many workers are worried as they see market prices soar.

Wages in the main two cities in Việt Nam, Region 1, will go up from VNĐ4.68 million (US$192) to VNĐ4.96 million ($204) per month.

The six per cent increase is equivalent to a rise of VNĐ250,000 in Region 2 and VNĐ220,000 and 200,000 in Regions 3 and 4, respectively.

Currently, the minimum monthly salary of workers in enterprises in Region 2 is VNĐ4.16 million, in Region 3 it is VNĐ3.64 million ($149.4) and in Region 4 it is VNĐ3.25 million ($133.3).

Region 1 covers the urban areas of Hà Nội and HCM City, Region 2 encompasses the rural areas of Hà Nội and HCM City, along with major urban areas in the country such as Cần Thơ, Đà Nẵng and Hải Phòng, Region 3 covers provincial cities and the districts of Bắc Ninh, Bắc Giang and Hải Dương provinces and Region 4 is the rest of the country.


In addition to an increase in income, social insurance will also go up, in line with the new base salary.

This is good news for public employees.

Nguyễn Thu Minh, a preschool teacher in Cầu Giấy District, Hà Nội, found out about the salary increase a few months ago.

She is very happy and hopes her family's daily life will be improved.

“In the current difficult economic context, even a little extra money is precious,” she said.

Đinh Hồng Hạnh, an office employee in Ba Đình District in Hà Nội, agreed, saying: "The salary raise is a common joy for many workers like us. Besides work at the office, we don't have time to do any other work. Therefore, no matter how little or how much the salary increase is, we are still very excited and hope that we can live better."


However, along with the joy, many workers are worried.

In reality, for many years, every time a salary goes up, workers will immediately face the skyrocketing prices of goods, and the increases never keep pace.

Đào Thu Hương, who lives in Hoàng Mai District, said that she and her husband are both State employees. They are worried that if the salary increases by one đồng, the goods’ prices will also increase by one đồng, or even double.

“With the new policy, my family's total income will be nearly VNĐ15 million ($587) per month. But around one or two months ago, prices of many essential goods started to intensify," said Hương.

Experts believe that to make the salary raise really welcome; it is necessary to control inflation and stabilise prices and the macroeconomy.

They say the State should have strict control over prices and severe punishments for those who raise them unreasonably.

According to economic expert Vũ Vinh Phú, increasing wages is only meaningful if prices remain relatively stable.

He said, there must be price controls on all essential goods such as electricity, water, petrol and food.

Associate professor Đinh Trọng Thịnh, senior lecturer at the Academy of Finance, said that the salary reform was something that many workers were looking forward to because the current salary was too low and not enough to live in big cities.

But that joy will be limited because of the accompanying worry of price increases outstripping the adjusted wage.

Thịnh said that many times and over many years, the Government, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other relevant ministries and departments had determined that when increasing wages, they need to control market prices well.

Recently, prices have been under more pressure due to higher gold prices and exchange rates, as well as rising prices of input materials for some industries.

“In the first four months of this year, inflation was only 3.53 per cent, stable and decreasing. Therefore, stabilising inflation and the value of money needs to make the hope of increased wages, together with reasonable prices, become a reality. If so, the increase in salary will bring complete joy to workers as desired by the Government and the National Assembly," said Thịnh.

Thịnh predicts that the State will manage the prices of goods it sets the price for, such as hospital services, schools, electricity, and water, so that they are appropriate.

“In order for a salary increase to encourage workers to work more enthusiastically, it is necessary to curb inflation, stabilise prices and control the macro economy and strictly handle any violations,” said Thịnh. — VNS