Search

 

Cablegate: Striking Overseas Workers Return From Jordan; Paid Strike

VZCZCXRO6094
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0400/01 0991010
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081010Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7562
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4546
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0038

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000400

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL/AWH, PRM/PIM, AND G/TIP
BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV TIP ELAB KWMN KCRM SMIG PREL VM

SUBJECT: STRIKING OVERSEAS WORKERS RETURN FROM JORDAN; PAID STRIKE
LEADER SEEKS PROTECTION IN BANGKOK

REFS: A) HANOI 0309; B) AMMAN 0902; C) HANOI 0356

HANOI 00000400 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: On March 31, the last group of 157 striking
overseas Vietnamese garment workers (Refs, A-C) were repatriated
from Jordan and 156 arrived at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport. According
to knowledegable third party sources, en route to Hanoi one of the
returnees broke off from the group in Bangkok and may seek
protection from the UNHCR office in Bangkok, claiming she was "a
strike leader" and had accepted two thousand dollars from the
U.S.-based NGO Boat People SOS (BPSOS) to "help other striking
workers." The case has received extensive coverage in the
Vietnamese media. End summary.

Striking Workers Return - One Stays in Bangkok
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) On March 31, the last group of 157 striking overseas
Vietnamese garment workers (Refs A-C) were repatriated from Jordan
and 156 arrived at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport via Bangkok. According
to a knowledgeable third party sources, en route to Hanoi one of the
returnees broke off from the group in Bangkok and may seek
protection from the UNHCR office there. The woman reportedly was "a
strike leader" and had accepted two thousand dollars from U.S.-based
NGO, Boat People SOS (BPSOS) to "help other striking workers." She
had spoken on Radio Free Asia a number of times, and claims that her
family had been threatened, although it was unclear by whom.
Therefore, she allegedly believes she will be persecuted by the GVN
upon returning to Vietnam. (Note: GVN authorities also confirmed
with us that one of the returnees had "disappeared" at the transit
airport but did not elaborate on the reason. End note.)

3. (SBU) According to the GVN Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and
Social Affairs (MOLISA), there were originally 266 Vietnamese
employees working at two different garment factories in Jordan in
January 2008. Five had returned to Vietnam before a
widely-publicized February 19 strike and scuffle with Jordanian
police. Since the strike and subsequent labor negotiations with the
Taiwanese apparel employer and Jordanian security and labor
authorities, 104 Vietnamese workers chose to remain and work in
Jordan, after being cleared by the employer and GOJ authorities,
while 157 left for Hanoi in several groups over the last two weeks
of March. Commercial flights back to Hanoi were facilitated by a
team of GVN officials and Vietnamese recruitment company officials.
It is unclear how many of the 157 willingly left Jordan or were
rejected for re-employment by the employer or GOJ authorities.

GVN Arrangements for Returnees
------------------------------
4. (SBU) According to MOLISA officials, they had asked the
recruiters to arrange vehicles at Hanoi's airport to pick up
arriving returnees but none of these workers reportedly used the
pre-arranged vehicles. They either went back home individually or
in groups to their home provinces, where they remain today. Both
MOLISA and MFA officials told Poloffs on April 7 that no returnees
were detained by the government or by the recruiters. The
recruiters are now preparing the necessary procedures so that they
and the workers can terminate the labor contracts. MOLISA has
requested that the recruiters liquidate the contracts in strict
accordance with Vietnamese law and report the outcome to MOLISA.
Again, both MOLISA and MFA officials confirmed to Poloffs that the
returnees would not face any legal prosecution after returning to
Vietnam as they had not violated Vietnamese law.
5. (SBU) According to MOLISA officials, when the recruiters
liquidate the labor contracts, the workers may have to compensate
the recruitment firm a certain amount of money for breaking their
contracts; the recruiters are supposed to report details of the
contract liquidations to MOLISA. It is unclear, however, to what
extent the workers rather than the recruitment firms violated the
terms of their contracts.

Continuing Coverage by Vietnamese Media
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Several Hanoi-based newspapers and news websites on March
20 published a press statement by MFA spokesman Le Dung regarding
this case. Two of our regular press contacts at local newspapers
said they did not receive any instruction to stop reporting on the
case; however, they did not continue to report on the case as the
issue had died down and price inflation stories were receiving more
attention from the general public.
7. (SBU) Tuoi Tre, a leading daily in HCMC, was the first newspaper
which broke the story and extensively reported on it. A Tuoi Tre
reporter told LES that the GVN told the media to "be careful" in
reporting this issue but not to stop reporting on it. Tuoi Tre had
a story on the case on its website on March 21.

HANOI 00000400 002.2 OF 002


8. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen Ho Chi Minh City.
MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: