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The families of many Vietnamese workers in Russia have requested Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry to protect these workers, whom they said have been abused at a sewing factory in Russia.
Vietnamese workers at the sewing factory had a cheap meal , Photo: Courtesy of a worker at the Vinastar sewing factory
On Wednesday more than 20 people from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen and Hai Duong flocked to the ministry’s Consular Department in Hanoi to ask for urgent support for Vietnamese workers at the Vinastar Company in Russia.
The director of the company is a Vietnamese woman, Tran Kim Dung.
According to the petition of the group, which is represented by Nguyen Duy Thanh Nhan, these workers are among more than 80 who have been sent to Russia on visas for visitors, not for workers.
The group also said these workers have been exploited at the company’s sewing sweatshop.
On July 18 many workers from Russia and their relatives in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District made phone calls to Phap Luat Newspaper for help.
One of the workers, Duong Thi Hang, said: “On the afternoon of July 17, five of the six people who are on the representative board of the workers were locked in the company’s office.”
Later the same day, Vinastar’s managers took some Russians to the workers’ dormitories and told workers that they are police. The group seized a laptop from a worker, Tieu Hoang Que, and took him to the company’s office. One hour later, two other employees were also taken to the office. Their colleagues could hear screams from that office.
Many staff members who were reported to have close relationships with the company’s director stood in front of the doors of workers’ rooms with bludgeons in their hands, preventing them from coming out. Some workers had their mobile phones seized.
Eight workers taken away
That same day eight employeesworkers, including Tieu Hoang Que, Pham Thi Mao, Hoang Van Khanh, Pham Thi Hong Tham, Nguyen Tien Sang, Roang Thi My, Dang Thi Phuong, and Vu Thi Thu Ha were taken from their rooms to an unknown location.
After these workers were taken away, the electricity supply was often cut off and many mobile phones were smashed.
At 4 pm on July 18, while talking with Phap Luat on the phone, a laborer said, “After eight workers were taken away, 20 others were called to the office one at a time. They were questioned and beaten. I personally was so brutalized that today I cannot eat anything.”
Vinastar has moved machinery to other places and informed the workers that they will be moved there, but has yet to say where this is.
The company separated workers into groups of 20 for the move. The company announced that on July 19, any workers who did not agree to go to the new location will be left in hunger.
But the employees said they would not go anywhere until the company sends the eight workers back, and until authorities take action to interfere.
Employees said in the past 10 days their living conditions at the workshop have been very bad. The water supply was often cut, making daily activities difficult. Many have been suffering from prolonged diarrhea, but they were granted medicine just once.
Talking with Tuoi Tre, Vu Le Ha, an official at the Consular Department, said the agency learned of this issue a month ago and has asked the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia to find out more by contacting the workers and their employer.
The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs also sent a team to Russia to settle the issue, Ha said
Some of the information provided by these workers is correct, but other claims are wrong, Ha said.
Currently, the two ministries are coordinating with each other to resolve the problems related to these employees, he added.
Regarding the possibility that Vietnamese workers could be sold by their employer to other sewing factories, Ha said the Embassy is dealing with the issue.
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