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Stranded Vietnamese workers in Malaysia to get salary

Update: March, 30/2012 - 09:17

HA NOI – Vietnamese workers owed back-pay by the Malaysian company Asmana would receive a minimum salary for February and overtime pay for January, according to a VietNam News Agency correspondent in Malaysia.

The 69 workers went to Malaysia under contracts with Asmana in June, 2010 to clean hospitals, buildings and public areas in Penang State, around 300km from Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur. Their salaries ranged from US$400-500 per month.

Since August, 2011, Asmana has failed to pay taxes and obtain visa extensions for the workers due to financial difficulties, effectively stranding them in Malaysia.

At a working session in Penang State between the Vietnamese Embassy's Labour and Expert Management Board and the Penang State Labour Department on Wednesday, the department's director Hoe Lean Fatt said Asmana and its main contractor Faber had agreed to pay the overdue salaries and overtime pay to the workers.

Under the agreement, Faber will be responsible for paying the workers.

Initially, the back pay will be given to more than 40 workers from several countries, including 17 from Viet Nam, who are currently in Penang.

The payment is scheduled to be made this week under the witness of the Malaysian Labour Department, Penang State's Labour Bureau and the Vietnamese Embassy.

For the remaining 52 Vietnamese workers who are currently living at protection centres in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, Faber will transfer the money to the Labour Department of the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry. It will then be forwarded to the workers after approval is received from the Malaysian Home Affairs' Immigration Department.

However, the Vietnamese Embassy's Labour and Expert Management Board said the workers should also be reimbursed for some unreasonable expenses that Asmana forced the workers to pay such as fees for making special passes and health insurance fees.

The workers should also receive compensation or support for expenses incurred while they were out of work since mid-February.

Asmana said it would re-calculate these expenses in order to pay back the workers.

Airfare and related expenditures for the workers to return to Viet Nam will be paid for by Faber.

The 17 Vietnamese workers who are currently living outside protection centres are currently going through the procedures to get a special pass to return to Viet Nam or seek new employment with another company.

The Penang State Immigration Agency affirmed that the case had been handed over to the Malaysian Judicial Agency.

The agency committed to closely work with the Vietnamese Embassy to ensure the legitimate interests of the Vietnamese workers.

Earlier, the NS Medik Sdn Bhd company of Malaysia agreed to employ 43 out of the 69 workers who would continue with their jobs at the same hospitals at the same salaries as before.

The workers would be lodged in neighbourhoods near their places of work.-VNS

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