16/01/2018 | 10:46:00

Rural workers flock to capital

Illustrative image (Source: doisongphapluat.vn)

The capital city of Hanoi is currently witnessing the massive annual influx of migrant manual workers. Seeking jobs that no city people are willing to do, they need to earn extra money to prepare for Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year).

Yen Phu street in Tay Ho district has long been recognised as a hub for porters from other provinces. In the rain showers at year-end, groups of workers can be seen sitting around fire pits waiting for hirers.  

Le Trong Lan, 17, from Trieu Son district in the central province of Thanh Hoa, told the Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) that he offers furniture moving services for 500,000 (22 USD) a day.

Born in a poor family, Lan gave up studying early and started work to support his parents and help a younger sister pursue an education. A mason by trade, he can earn about 250,000 VND (11 USD) a day. During the holiday period, Lan follows villagers to Hanoi looking for temporary jobs.

“I do as many jobs as possible, including building, cleaning, shipping work and driving,” he said.

According to Lan, his wage is rising as Tet approaches. From December 23 to 28 (on the lunar calendar), employers often pay him 700,000 VND to 1 million (31 to 44 USD), double the amount he can earn on normal days.

“Only the poorest people accept work till the end of the year. Most people want to be back home by December 25 on the lunar calendar as the latest,” Lan added.

Long Bien fruit wholesale market in Long Bien district is another city hotspot for manual workers in the pre-holiday season.

Despite the cold snap, many people move their produce at night. Nguyen Trong Kien from Ba Vi district is among them. 

“My income is not stable; it depends mostly on how hardworking I am. On freezing days like this, I work till 2 to 3am. Too exhausted, I sleep like a log without eating a thing,” he said

Kien, along with another four labourers, ported five trucks of fruit, 500kg each. Each of them earned 800,000 VND (35 USD), far higher than the previous days.

Despite the heavy work, not everyone makes a good wage. Nguyen Thi Hien, a house cleaner from Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh province, for example, said that cheating was not uncommon.

“Three years ago, when I first went to Hanoi, a person asked me to clean her five-floor house for 300,000 VND (13 USD) per day. However, after finishing cleaning every corner, they said they were not satisfied and paid me only half of the promised amount. When I questioned this, they simply told me to take it or get nothing,” she said.

At present, she is a member of the Yen Hoa commune domestic workers club in Cau Giay district. Membership offers her a chance to get better jobs and acquire useful skills.

Migrant workers are easy targets for criminals, even human traffickers. Nguyen Thi Lam, 37, from Nong Cong district, Thanh Hoa province, said that three years ago, a broker deceived her out of 500,000 VND (22 USD) and took her identity papers away.

“They promised to introduce me to a company with a minimum wage of 5 million VND (220 USD). However, I was asked to deposit 1 million VND (44 USD). As I gave only half, they kept my ID card,” she said.

Three days later, she was fired. Fortunately, Hanoi Centre for Employment Service recommended her to a three-star restaurant as a cleaner.

Despite the hardship, manual workers from the country never give up. “I keep working, even on the coldest days. Whatever I do, I do it for my children and my family back home,” said Tran Thi Chuc from Vinh Phuc province.-VNA

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