Kaxton Siu of the Australian National University and Anita Chan of the University of Technology, Sydney have a new paper at our website entitled “Strike Wave in Vietnam, 2006–2011.”
Vietnam’s regime and domestic and international businesses have seen a remarkable growth of strikes in recent years. As the authors note, Vietnam has witnessed more strikes than any other Asian country in the past decade. This is despite its rather vibrant economy.
This regular industrial action has not deterred foreign investors from setting up manufacturing facilities in the country, as wages are about half those of China.
Beneath the wildcat strike culture lies a deterioration in living standards to the extent that some Vietnamese workers have to conserve energy due to inadequate food and malnutrition.
The article presents an analysis of more than a decade of strikes in Vietnam, moving from a period of relative industrial peace to a strike wave. Using statistical data, it argues that the Vietnamese state’s macroeconomic policy and inability to control inflation are partly responsible for the country’s deteriorating conditions, as is capital exploitation. Foreign investors are showing increasing impatience with these labour disputes and are pressuring the Vietnamese government to suppress them.