Is stress hurting IP productivity?

18:09 | 19/12/2010
Low salaries, overtime and poor living conditions are making Vietnamese industrial park workers feel more stress.
Many industrial park workers spend large chunks of time away from home

A survey, just released by Ho Chi Minh City’s Science and Technology Department, indicates 70 per cent of workers at industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City are stressed. The survey attracted 378 respondents at Tan Tao and Vinh Loc industrial parks and Tan Thuan export processing zone.

According to the survey, 16.4 per cent of workers regularly feel stressed and 60.6 per cent occasionally irritated.

An official at the Science and Technology Department Dao Thi Duy Duyen, who implemented the survey, said workers felt stressed because of low salary, poor living conditions or overtime.

Mai Duc Chinh, vice president of Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, said stress could be an issue for industrial park workers nationwide.

“I think not only workers in Ho Chi Minh City but also workers at industrial parks in other provinces are feeling stress because they are working under the same conditions,” said Chinh.

At present, nearly 1.5 million Vietnamese workers are working at industrial parks nationwide. Most of them are living far away from home, especially those working at industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Bac Ninh provinces.

The survey shows that more than 75 per cent of workers feeling stress are worried about their low salary and poor living conditions.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the average salary of workers at industrial parks is about VND2 million ($100) per month.

That salary is said too low, especially at the moment when local workers are wrestling with the negative impact of skyrocketing inflation. It is just barely enough for workers, who live far away from home, to spend on house rental fees and essential needs. Many workers have to work overtime to cover their living expenses.

Low salary also forces foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam to grapple with a massive labour shortage as many workers leave their jobs at industrial parks for other jobs.

Duyen said stress could reduce labour productivity. It would seriously impact on the quality of human resource, especially when Vietnam’s labour productivity remains low in absolute terms and was equal to only 61.4 per cent of ASEAN’s average.

Furthermore, the rising stress at workers could lead a serious consequence such as suicides at Taiwanese Foxconn’s factories in China. This year, 13 Chinese workers at Foxconn’s factories killed themselves as they had been suffering stress on their job.

But while more and more workers are feeling stress, Duyen said they had not yet received appropriate supports from employers, adding that most of employers are ignoring measures to prevent stress at workers.

By Nhu Ngoc

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