Workers End 5-day Strike At Nike Vietnam Plant

HANOI (AP)–Some 14,000 striking workers returned to a plant that makes sneakers for Nike Inc. (NKE) on Monday after receiving a pay increase to help cushion the impact of Vietnam’s rising inflation rate, a company official said.

The five-day strike at the South Korean-owned Tae Kwang Vina plant ended after management agreed to give workers a VND70,000 ($4.50) monthly transportation allowance, said Vu Dinh Quan, the company’s human resource manager.

The company also agreed to improve the food at the factory cafeteria, Quan said.

The plant in Dong Nai, some 30 kilometers northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, employs more than 14,000 workers, most of them young rural women. It is one of 10 contractors that produce shoes for Nike in Vietnam.

“We are pleased that factory management and workers were able to openly discuss grievances and quickly reach resolution,” said
Chris Helzer, a Nike spokesman said Monday.

Prices in Vietnam, Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy, are 10% higher than they were a year ago. The government has promised to increase the minimum wage by roughly 12%, starting in January 2008.

As inflation has picked up in recent years, strikes have become more common, with workers demanding higher pay and better work conditions. Last year, workers in Vietnam went on strike nearly 400 times.

“Inflation is very high now, and it definitely affects our workers a lot,” Quan said.

The average salary of workers at the Tae Kwang Vina plant is about 30% higher than Vietnam’s minimum wage of VND845,000 per month.

The plant makes about 10% of the 75 million pairs of shoes that Nike produces in Vietnam each year, according to Nike.


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