Thousands Strike at Vietnam Yamaha Plant

Gasoline prices increased 18% while electricity was up 15% which led workers to strike for higher wages.

Demanding higher pay and benefits, thousands of workers at a Yamaha motorcycle factory in Vietnam were on strike on March 8, a company official said. About 3,000 employees from the Yamaha Motor plant in Hanoi walked off the job on March 7.

Management told the other 2,000 workers to stay home on March 8 while discussions continued with the union, the company official said.

Vietnam bans labor unions that are independent of the ruling Communist Party.

Workers are seeking an increase in the basic monthly salary from 1.65 million dong (US$78.57) to 2.03 million dong along with a rise in their housing and other social allowances, the official said.

The company had already agreed to a pay rise for some workers, but that was before the government increased the price of subsidized gasoline by 18% in late February.

After fuel prices rose, electricity rates increased by 15% on March 1, adding to the worries of citizens trying to cope.

Vietnam's inflation reached 12.3% year-on-year last month, according to official data, far higher than in neighboring states, although rising consumer prices are emerging as a top concern for policymakers throughout Asia.

Pledging that fighting inflation is its top priority, the government has unveiled measures to rein in prices and stabilize the economy, which is facing a complicated mix of challenges. These include a struggling currency and a trade deficit that reached an estimated $12.4 billion last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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