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Electronics firms face labour shortage

Update: February, 26/2018 - 09:00
Workers assemble electronic parts at the Khai Quang industrial park in Vĩnh Phúc Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Hundreds of electronics manufacturers in Việt Nam are having difficulty recruiting labourers, said an official from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

Despite forecasts about automation technologies replacing manual labour, manual labourers are still in high demand at electronics manufacturers in Việt Nam, especially those with skills and qualifications, Thanh Niên (Youth) newspaper reported.

The number of electronics companies in Việt Nam has risen drastically in the past decade, from 307 in 2006 to 1,165 in 2015 (up 16.3 per cent per year), said Dr Chử Thị Lân, director of the Centre of Research Works on Working Environment and Conditions under MOLISA’s Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs.

The number of electronics labourers has also risen drastically, from about 142,800 in 2009 to 453,200 in 2016, she said at a recent conference on securing jobs for workers at electronics companies in Việt Nam.

“However, about 70 per cent of these workers possess no qualifications for their jobs, and 80 per cent of the companies are facing a severe shortage of skilled labourers,” Chử added.

New technologies are one of the factors leading to the shortage, said Dr Đào Quang Vinh, director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs.

“They require workers to adapt to big changes, increase competition, reduce manufacturing cost and build demand for more high-quality labourers,” he said.

Meanwhile, since the majority of Vietnamese labourers came from rural areas and did not receive any formal training for technological jobs, they lack flexibility in adapting to technological changes, said Dr Vũ Quang Thọ, director of MOLISA’s Institute for Workers – Trade Unions.

The harsh working conditions at manufacturing factories also lead some workers to quit their jobs, Thọ added.

Nguyễn Tiến Tùng, MOLISA’s chief inspector, said that wrong doings were discovered in 216 electronic companies in 2017 nationwide.

“All of these companies required their staff to work overtime, and 60 per cent of them violated the regulations on overtime pay,” he said.

Twenty-seven enterprises made serious violations of the Labour Code and were fined VNĐ1.4 billion (US$61,600), Tùng added. Most of them did not ensure workers’ rights, he said.

To improve the situation, Dr Chử Thị Lân said electronics companies should shake up their practices, strictly comply with labour regulations, maintain labour standards and offer incentives to recruit labourers.

“They should absolutely avoid forced labour and child labour, and avoid firing workers over 35 years old,” she said.

Dr Đào Quang Vinh said that workers should receive training and re-training every time their companies acquire new technologies. “They should be aware of the change and prepared to gain new skills to meet new requirements,” he said.

The State should have policies that ensure job stability and on-the-job training for electronics workers, he added.

“In case they are not able to adapt to technological changes, these workers should be informed about other employment opportunities,” he said. — VNS

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