Lack of workers as factories reopen

VIETNAM: Serious manpower shortage looms in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City and manufacturing and industrial hubs as factories reopen after a prolonged lockdown.

Workers with "green cards," or those from the safe zones, are the only ones allowed to return. Additionally, travel bans between provinces impacted the availability of manpower.

Contributing further to the shortage is the recently reported exodus of some 90,000 migrant workers who have fled Ho Chi Minh City for fears of unemployment and potential disruptions to the manufacturing industry if quarantines were to be reimposed.

The vice-chairman of the city's People's Committee, Le Hoa Binh, urged workers to stay because “the city faces serious labour shortages.” Ensuring enough workers has become a challenge for Vietnam’s largest city and the nearby industrial zones.

The chairman of the Binh Duong Business Federation, Mai Huu Tin, said that factories in the province face a 50 per cent shortage of workers.

Dang Tuan Tu, union president of Changshin Vietnam Co., Ltd., said only 2,000 workers of the required 42, 000 in the labour force, were expected to return.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Van, union president of Long Rich Co., Ltd. in HCM City, said only 125 of the firm’s 4,000 vaccinated workers were expected to be back to work. Only 900 of the 4,000, who stayed in HCM City, received the second shot.

Dong Nai Employment Exchange stated that 28 companies had opened positions for more than 4,500 workers as of October 3, but only 150 had applied. The vaccination rate in most of Dong Nai province's companies was only 40 to 50 per cent.

Labour-intensive manufacturing businesses, such as suppliers for Nike and Adidas, struggled due to the lockdowns. They suspended operations in Vietnam earlier this year.

Buyers of Apple's new iPhone 13 have also faced delivery delays because of the outbreaks affecting the factories that make the phone’s camera.

Meanwhile, the government recently ordered businesses to coordinate with local authorities in reopening the economy through smooth production, goods circulation, travel and accommodation of workers, and compliance with pandemic safety requirements.

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