Businesses seek to fill post pandemic workforce gap

27/9/2021| 16:54

Many businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, the epicenter of the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak, have faced a serious shortage of workers possessing a COVID-19 ‘green card’ as they struggle to resume production, according to industry insiders.

Labourforce is in short supply in southern localities as the vaccination rate is rather low.

The difficult situation can largely be attributed to the southern city’s new rule that only ‘green card’ holders, i.e. vaccinated workers, will be permitted to return to work when the city enforces the new normal.

A representative of a garment company in An Lac ward of Binh Tan district revealed that although his company is one of 45 businesses prioritised for vaccination, it has so far coped with a shortage of workers with a ‘green card’ as regulated.

Luong Van Vinh, general director of My Hao Chemical Cosmetics Joint Stock Company, revealed that his firm has encountered difficulties in welcoming back their employees as many of them are yet to be fully vaccinated.

“Many employees would like to return to work from their hometowns when the city eases social distancing, but they cannot because they are not vaccinated. We also find it hard to recruit more in the city because they are not granted a ‘green card.’ There is an immediate risk of labour shortages at the moment,” the CEO confided.

Labour shortages are also recorded in other southern provinces that are home to a large number of industrial parks. Pousung Vietnam Company in Bau Xeo Industrial Park in Trang Bom district of Dong Nai province is a case in point.

After suspending operations for two months due to COVID-19, Pousung announced on September 20 that it would kick-start production lines again to fulfil orders with partners. However, the firm once again suspended the plan as only 40% of its workforce have received the first doses of a vaccine.

“We share local authorities’ concerns, but businesses should be given the permission to implement COVID-19 production and control measures in order to maintain production,” Le Nhat Truong, Trade Union president of the firm.

Similarly, Chang Yong Jun, director of Hwaseung ViNa in Nhon Trach Industrial Park 1, said his firm that employs about 15,000 workers is unable to resume production as 90% of the employees live in high risk areas categorised as yellow or red zones.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), although vaccination represents the most effective solution for labourers seeking to return to work, the vaccination rate among workers remains low at seafood processing factories.

Only between 30-35% of employees at seafood processing factories in the central and Mekong Delta regions have now received the first dose, and merely 5% of them have received the second dose, a VASEP representative pointed out.

Dang Hoang Giang, vice president and general secretary of the Vietnam Cashew Association, also said that many cashew processing businesses are facing labour shortages due to a low vaccination rate.

“To maintain safe production, we have is no choice but to vaccinate all employees,” Giang suggested, adding that employees should be given the second dose before the end of this year.

Cao Tien Dung, head of the Dong Nai provincial administration, said Dong Nai is given priority to vaccinating employees of businesses as well as residents aged 18 and above.

Dong Nai is gradually enforcing a new normal, but people’s safety is the No1 priority, stressed Dung.