Vietnamese strike at Nike plant

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7118902.stm

Thousands of workers have gone on strike at a Vietnamese plant that makes shoes for Nike, demanding higher pay.

Workers, who produce about 10% of the 75 million pairs of shoes made for Nike in Vietnam annually, want more pay, bonuses and cost of living allowances.

Strikes have become more common in Vietnam, as inflation – now at 9.5% – has risen.

The average monthly salary at the South Korean-owned plant is $62, about 20% more than the minimum wage.

Rising prices

The plant in Dong Nai, near Ho Chi Minh city, employs some 14,000 people.

“Given the fact that inflation is so high now, it is hard to say they are being too demanding,” said Kieu Minh Sinh, an official with Dong Nai Provincial Trade Union.

Rising inflation and growing industrial unrest has pushed the Vietnamese government to raise the minimum wage.

Last year, the government increased the minimum wage for workers at foreign firms by 25%.

The government has said it will increase the minimum wage by about 12% in January.

Nike is aware of the strike and is encouraging workers and management to resolve their differences, a spokesman for Nike UK said. It is not clear how long the strike will continue for.

“There is a strike at the factory, one of several factories in Vietnam that produce Nike footwear,” he said.

“All our contract factories are required to comply with Nike company standards regarding working conditions and with local laws and regulations,” he added.

Officials at Tae Kwang, the South Korean company that runs the factory, declined to comment when they were contacted by the Associated Press news agency.

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