|HCM City Party Committee Secretary Đinh La Thăng visits workers at the Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7. Photo Thanh Vũ|
HCM CITY— Local authorities should facilitate private investment in affordable housing for workers at the Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7, HCM City Party Committee Secretary Đinh La Thăng has said.
The district People’s Committee needs to set standards for workers’ lodging and take radical measures to encourage private investors to build houses for workers, he told a meeting with the zone’s management authority on Tuesday.
Companies in the zone employ more than 63,000 workers, with people from outside the city accounting for 65 per cent, according to Trần Thanh Hồng, deputy general director of Tân Thuận Ltd., Co.
Six apartments blocks were built on the zone, but they provide accommodation for only 7 per cent of the workers, Hồng said.
Most others have to live in boarding houses in surrounding areas paying rents of VNĐ700,000-2.2 million (US$32-99) per room, a huge burden considering their monthly salaries are only VNĐ4-5 million ($178-223).
There is massive demand for schools too but there is only one pre-school, which opened recently, with 17 classrooms that accommodate 510 children this year.
The number of labour disputes has declined to two this year compared to three in the same period last year.
But the risk of disputes breaking out is high since the essential needs of workers as well as their rights remain unmet.
Most disputes occur over benefits including wages and bonuses, a zone official said.
Lê Văn Lâm, deputy head of public security in the district, said trade union officials are also paid by employers meaning their role in protecting the legal rights of workers is limited.
Lê Hòa Bình, chairman of the district People’s Committee, said the administration plans to allocate 10 hectares of land for workers’ housing.
Thăng said the area of the houses should be between 30 and 60 metres to be suitable for single workers as well as families.
The price of a house should be below VNĐ100 million ($44,600) to make it affordable, he said.
Workers can choose to lease, buy outright or pay in instalments, he said.
He also called on the Labour Federation to build the capacity of trade union officials to better protect workers’ rights.
State agencies and organisations must prioritise issues related to workers’ life to ensure an appropriate quality of life for them, including fair incomes, schooling for their children and meeting their spiritual and cultural needs, he added. —VNS