A plain meal of a worker of a northern IZ.

“I sold private property to get money for my business. Previously, my business ran well, so I had money to buy some houses. This is now the time I use them to ‘feed’ my workers and my business,” said Pham Trong Phu, director of Titanium Real Estate Management Co Ltd.

Phu said that it is a very tough time for enterprises. The difficulties are from the market, sales are slow, credit is stuck, so enterprises have to use provisions and private money as well. However, his company is not doing as poorly as other companies as it has timely shifted to manufacturing drinks. 

Though the business field doesn’t bring high revenue, it grows sustainably.

Nguyen Dang Hien, CEO of Bidrico, said he feels lucky that this year’s output exceeds yearly output. Therefore, he has reasons to believe that Tet bonuses this year are better than last year's. However, in the long term, employers have to set  solutions to minimize difficulties, and prepare for a tough year.

Deputy chair of the HCM City Business Association Le Huu Nghia said that employers should think of giving bonuses to workers. He said high inflation and currency depreciation makes life difficult for workers. Moreover, the pandemic has lowered  salaries and bonuses for a long time.

According to the HCM City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, from early November 2022, 26 enterprises in the city (14 foreign invested enterprises (FIEs), 12 domestic enterprises) announced dismissal of workers, totaling 2,844 people. The number of enterprises announcing layoffs was 26, lower than in 2019-2020 (79 enterprises in 2019, 86 in 2020).

Deputy chair of Hawa (the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City) Nguyen Chanh Phuong said there are many modes of unemployment, from temporary and suspension to layoff. When workers cannot work for 1-2 months, they are not reported as unemployed as they have not left permanently. Therefore, state management agencies need to learn carefully about the data to predict the real situation of enterprises and social welfare.

The Tet bonus aims at retaining workers and persuading them to return to work after Tet. However, with the bad situation about orders this year, it will be difficult to retain workers, he said.

Tran Chung