|Garment workers at Garco 10 Company in Hà Nội’s Gia Lâm District. — VNA/VNS Photo Trần Việt|
HÀ NỘI — Lương Bá Thám, 44, from the central province of Thanh Hóa, applied for jobs at three different firms in Hà Nội, but kept getting knocked back.
Returning from working in South Korea, Thám attended several job introduction days.
“I applied at many different companies, but none of them got back to me after interviewing me,” he said.
Currently, Thám works as a freelancer in his hometown.
Thám’s case is not a peculiar exeption, with many enterprises preferring to hire workers in the 18-35 age group - workers over 35 are considered too old.
Nguyễn Thị Hương, from the northern province of Ninh Bình, who works for an enterprise in Thăng Long Industrial Zone, said the oldest person in the company was 39 years old. while most others are between 18 and 30.
Employees over 35 are constantly in a anxious state as the company could sack them at any time for any reason, such as poor health or high expenses for social insurance, said Hương.
Hoàng Đức Khang, deputy chairman of the Kim Chung Commune People’s Committee in Hà Nội’s Đông Anh District, said “We discovered that many enterprises do not like hiring workers over 35 years old.”
“We meet many unemployed people and try to help them, but it’s difficult because enterprises have many reasons to sack them, like changing technology to reduce their staff,” he said.
Labour experts said that there was a pattern of hire-fire-hire in enterprises, as this gives them a “golden labour force” and saves expenses that would go into social insurance, unemployment insurance and periodic salary increases.
Statistics from the Hà Nội Job Introduction Centre showed that in the first four months of 2017, more than 10,400 workers over 35 years old registered for unemployment insurance. The main reasons were due to mass layoff or that they were deemed unsuited for the enterprises’ works.
Speaking on the issue, Nguyễn Đình Thắng, deputy chairman of the Hà Nội Industrial Zones’ and Processing Zones’ Trade Union, said that now more than 126,900 workers are members of 277 local trade unions.
“Workers over 35 struggle to find jobs because enterprises must pay high expenses for salary, social insurance and unemployment insurance. If they use young workers, they can get away with paying lower expenses while young workers have better health,” said Thắng.
To protect workers’ rights and benefits, Thắng said the Hà Nội Industrial Zones’ and Processing Zones’ Trade Union has proposed amendments to several articles in the Labour Code 2012 to stop the ’practice’ of enterprises sacking workers over 35 years old for no appropriate reason.
Local trade unions should also set up skilled worker forces, rather than simple and manual works, to ensure stable and long-term employment.
Mai Đức Chính, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour, said workers needing stable income must work overtime, and as a result, their health declines and they can’t perform as expected when they reach 35-40.
Authorities should ask enterprises not to increase overtime hours, which are currently capped at 200 hours per year, so that workers can stay in good health after they turn 35.
Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung said that in the draft amended Code of Labour, the ministry will impose severe punishments for enterprises which avoid hiring workers over 35 years old. — VNS