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Public officials struggle with basic wage

Update: July, 03/2018 - 11:59
Many public officials see the new higher wages as still not enough for them to live on. What they are looking forward to is more breakthroughs in wage policies. — VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — In a single year, more than 60 public officials and servants working for ward-level agencies of southern Vũng Tàu City have quit their jobs, mostly because they say they aren’t making enough to survive.

Their salary has been by up to 40 per cent since the beginning of this year as the local authorities decided to scrap the allowance awarded to ward-level officials who graduated from college or university.

Phạm Trọng Khoa, chairman of Ward No. 3’s People’s Committee of Vũng Tàu City, told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that the monthly wage of an official is currently just over VNĐ2.2 million ($96), which is too low and fails to reflect the workload and pressure they have to bear.

Two accountants of the Rạch Dừa Ward’s People’s Committee quit their job for the same reason. All ward officials have not received their June salaries due to suspended accounting work.

Nguyễn Thế Lực, chairman of Rạch Dừa Ward’s People’s Committee, said that the only judiciary official of the ward quit. A land survey official had to take over the judiciary tasks.

To address the problem, the People’s Committee of Vũng Tàu City has proposed the People’s Committee of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province increase officials’ salaries. The People’s Committee of Vũng Tàu City has studied options to mobilise local funds to support them.

Basic wage increases

Meanwhile, public officials nationwide claimed that even the new higher monthly minimum wage taking effect this month is not enough for them to afford domestic expenses.

A decree approved by the Government allows the minimum wage to increase from VNĐ1.3 million (US$57) to VNĐ1.39 million ($61) per month starting July 1.

The new basic salary will be applied to those working in agencies, organisations and non-production units of the Party and the State, as well as in State-funded political-social organisations and associations, and the armed forces.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhàn, a secondary school teacher in Hà Nội, has had her monthly wage increased by VNĐ200,000 ($8.7) starting this month.

“An increase of VNĐ200,000 is not enough, especially when food, oil and gas prices have also surged following the wage increase,” she said.

With a salary of VND4 million ($174) per month, Nhàn struggles to manage her finances to raise her two children without support from her husband.

Many other public officials also think that the new higher wages are still not enough for them to live on. What they are looking forward to is more breakthroughs in wage policies.

Phạm Nguyên Cường, former deputy head of Gender Equality under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the previous wage increases were followed by price surges. The wage increase did not help improve officials’ lives.

The wage increase does not go hand in hand with domestic market prices, she said, adding that price-stabilisation sales of basic products should be maintained.

Lê Đăng Doanh, former director of Central Institute for Economic Management, said that the basic wage increase shows State attention to the labour force and is necessary because the public sector wage level remains low.

“The state budget will not be able to afford salaries if the number of public officials nationwide is kept the same. We need to cut down on the number of public workers by 30 to 40 per cent so as to ensure higher wages,” he said.

Phạm Minh Huân, former deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said that the minimum wage increase this time is based on the current State budget limit.

To make changes to public official wage policy, we need to streamline personnel and increase State budget collection, he said.

The basic wage increase serves as the foundation of the wage reform policy to take effect in 2021. The policy will go hand in hand with public administration, personnel streamlining and public agency reform, he said. — VNS


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