Vietnam gov't raises minimum wage

Ha Noi (Viet Nam News/ANN) - Another 220,000 vietnam dong (US$10) will be added to the monthly minimum wage from May 1 in Vietnam, according to a new government decree issued on Thursday.

Accordingly, the increase will be applied at all state agencies, people's armed forces, socio-political organisations and state-owned one-member limited companies.

It is the fourth increase of the minimum wage in the last four years: in 2009 it was 650,000 vietnam dong ($31), in 2010 it was 730,000 vietnam dong ($34) and from 2011 to May 2012 it will have been 830,000 vietnam dong ($39).

Nguyen Minh Ngoc, a heath staff member at the Transport Hospital in Cau Giay District, is among the beneficiaries who will receive a minimum wage of 1,050,000 vietnam dong ($50) per month. She welcomes the increase, but worries that "whenever the wage increases, market prices also surge."

On the same day, Nguyen Thi Lien Hoa, selling fish in Ngoc Ha Market, Ba Dinh District, says, "We haven't changed the price for our products yet. I want to sell my products at the most reasonable prices to attract more customers. If other sellers increase their prices, I will follow suit".

Nguyen Minh Tuan, who recently started work at a foreign company explains, "I could no longer support my family with my previous wage. If I stayed with the same office, I could have earned 2.7 million vietnam dong ($125) per month when the wage changed in May, as much as 100,000 ($5) a day".

Tuan says this money is enough to buy food, but nothing else; meanwhile, Electricity of Vietnam is also planning to increase the power price this year.

He humorously says, "I need electricity for the air conditioner in summer, so I must find another job."

Tuan now gets 6 million vietnam dong (US$275) per month.

Worker Nguyen Thi Du, who works for a private printing house and who will not receive a wage increase in May, says, "The increase makes everything I buy more expensive. It is not fair for a worker like me."

A quick survey by Viet Nam News yesterday showed that there would be no price increase at commodity wholesale markets, supermarkets and local markets. Gas and power prices would also remain unchanged in April.

Bus tickets should be the first to have its price increase following a suggestion by the transport and finance sectors in Ha Noi.

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