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Vietnamese workers barred from morning commute for not renting local houses

Vietnamese workers barred from morning commute for not renting local houses

Friday, June 24, 2016, 18:22 GMT+7

Hundreds of workers at an industrial park in the north-central Vietnamese province of Nghe An had their morning commute halted on Wednesday after local residents protested the workers not renting accommodation from local landlords.

Residents of Nghi Xa Commune, Nghi Loc District, began blocking the streets in the morning, bringing ten buses carrying workers to Nam Cam Industrial Park to a stop.

A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper showed that the incident arose out of frustration from the local residents over workers choosing not to rent their houses.

Police officers were notified and arrived at the scene to ensure order and traffic safety shortly after.

A representative of the industrial park also came to the area to persuade the citizens to let the workers pass, complaining that such actions would heavily affect the business operations of factories and firms.

According to Hoang Duy Duong, chief of the police department in Nghi Xa Commune, over 1,000 houses around the industrial zone have been put up for rent by local residents, costing tenants between VND500,000 (US$22) and VND1 million ($45) per month.

The landlords have barricaded the streets for over three days, Duong added.

“The companies have already provided their employees with transportation from their houses to the workplace so the workers no longer need to rent houses,” the police official explained.

Several officers have been assigned to talk with the residents, explaining that such activities are against the law, he added.

A meeting between local authorities, leaders of businesses, and local landlords is expected to be convened on Thursday in the hope of reaching a solution to the problem.

During a brief interview with Tuoi Tre, P.T.T., a 34-year-old worker living 10 kilometers away from her workplace, said she did not want to lease a house because her employers had already offered transportation.

“We cannot afford rent either due to our low payroll and the increasing cost of living. This incident has severely impacted the working pace of our factories,” T. stated.

Earlier on June 10, several landlords submitted a letter to local authorities, stating that local businesses’ providing transportation for their employees has affected returns on their income-properties.

In order to run rental businesses, many residents had to borrow money from banks to build the houses for lease, landlords said, adding that they were overly concerned as many of their properties remained unoccupied.

“We will give local companies seven days to stop providing such transportation; otherwise we will block the streets leading to the industrial zone. We will not take any responsibility for any potential consequences,” they wrote at the end of the letter.

The Nam Cam Industrial Park covers an area of over 371 hectares, housing more than 40 companies and factories, with investment capital estimated at VND890 billion ($40 million).

Several enterprises have signed contracts with passenger bus operators to carry their employees to and from work.

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