Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Vietnam - Health hazards shorten industrial careers: study
A worker of the Thuong Tin Electricity Company installs meters for residents. Many industrial workers suffer from occupational health conditions, says a study. — Photo: VNA/VNS
Many industrial workers face early retirement caused by occupational health conditions, according to a National Institute of Labour Protection study.
Labourers, particularly female workers, at industrial and export and processing zones often retire at just 30-40 years old when confronted with diseases caused by workplace conditions, the Lao dong (Labour) newspaper reported.
A recent study from the National Institute of Labour Protection under the Viet Nam Labour Federation revealed that diseases such as blood shortage, blood sugar reduction and otorhinolaryngology diseases are common diseases for workers.
The report determined that only 5.2 per cent of surveyed workers were ranked as having very good health, while 39.5 per cent of them are in moderately good health conditions.
It said that improper working conditions, high working intensity and poor living conditions are key factors affecting workers’ health.
Nguyen Be Em, a worker at a garment factory at Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone in HCM City, told the newspaper that she often felt dizzy in recent days but did not dare see doctors for fear of discovering she had some disease.
She said that most of the workers at her factory suffer from a range of diseases.
Many businesses fire workers who fail to meet health requirements even if they are young.
Businesses often think of different ways for workers to stop working, such as increasing the workload until a worker fails to complete his/her assignments, the newspaper reported. Some businesses change production technology so workers who fail to adapt to the change are forced to quit.
Hoang Thi Nga, a worker from the central province of Ha Tinh, told the newspaper that she asked to quit her job because her company continued to increase working shifts. “I was too tired because of the working pressure,” she said.
In HCM City, many businesses—particularly garment and textile companies—dismiss workers once they reach the age of 30, according to Head of the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions Vu Quang Tho.
Garment and textile businesses often use workers for around 10 years, when workers are between 20- and 30-years old. These businesses assume that workers’ health will reduce when they are over 30 years old and will therefore fail to meet work demand, Tho told Lao dong newspaper.
“Although many workers are still healthy enough to work when they are 30 years old, many businesses still want to replace them with new and younger ones,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Minh Huan said the practice of dismissing workers with subpar health does not violate any regulations.
However, if businesses abuse this issue to give workers the push, there exist regulations protecting the interests of workers.
Tho said it was necessary to legally require businesses to employ workers over a certain period. For example, businesses must commit to employing workers over a period of 25-30 years.
The Government should implement tighter regulations to ensure the interests of workers, while workers themselves should actively improve their skills and capacity, he said.
The Viet Nam Labour Federation has entrusted the Institute of Workers and Trade Unions to carry out a survey on industrial businesses ending labour relations with workers at the age of between 38 and 40. The survey will serve as a basis to deal with the issue.