Solutions for production to safely adapt to ‘new normal’ state

In the face of the fluctuations in labour resources after epidemic prevention measures, most businesses in Ho Chi Minh City are currently making plans to secure their workforce to prepare to resume production when the city transitions to a new normal.

Nidec Vietnam Corporation (Ho Chi Minh City) maintains operations with the “three-on-site” principle.
Nidec Vietnam Corporation (Ho Chi Minh City) maintains operations with the “three-on-site” principle.

Labour force shortages are inevitable, but what businesses need most is the municipal government to soon issue regulations, conditions and forms of operation after easing regulations on epidemic prevention and control, so that businesses can proactively provide a roadmap on personnel and operating mechanisms.

For nearly three months, Duc Bon Industry Co., Ltd., located in the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in District 7 could only produce in moderation with 400 workers following the “three-on-site” principle (work, eat and rest on the spot). The company's products are horse saddles and bridles, mainly exported to the European market. Tran Muoi, Head of Human Resources Department of Duc Bon Industry Co., Ltd. Said the company's human resources department has planned to summon workers back to work, ready when the city re-opens, and divided into two phases (500 workers in first phase and 400 workers in second phase).

Solutions for production to safely adapt to ‘new normal’ state ảnh 1

Workers at the Duc Bon Industry Company Limited, Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone (Ho Chi Minh City).

In order to ensure the implementation of the "dual goals", many businesses in Ho Chi Minh City have implemented a “three-on-site” plan with many goals: keeping orders, keeping customers and most especially keeping workers.

However, leaders of many businesses have shared that the most successful enterprises implementing “three-on-spot” do not see any economic efficiency, but rather keeping employees working, ensuring safety and avoiding infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus for workers when the disease spreads strongly in Ho Chi Minh City. Stable workers will be the best resource and basis for businesses to recover production quickly after the city re-opens to economic activity.

A shortage of personnel and workers has been forecasted by most production and business enterprises and these must have a plan to duly compensate.

However, the problem most businesses, associations and managers expect is that the city will soon have specific regulations on an operating model when the city re-opens; hastening vaccination for employees so that enterprises can proactively develop plans for recruitment, staffing and production activities.

Chu Tien Dung, President of the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Business Associations (HUBA), suggested that in order to solve the labour problem during the economic recovery period, Ho Chi Minh City, along with businesses and associations, should coordinate on a human resource plan, especially in labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, garments, and footwear on regional and national scale. At the same time, the Government should soon build a data set on labour information, “vaccine passports” or “green travel cards” to facilitate recruitment and labour allocation among regions.

According to Nguyen Van Be, Chairman of the Hepza Business Association (HBA) of Ho Chi Minh City, by the end of June 2021, the city had given priority to vaccination for 322,000 workers in 18 export processing zones, industrial parks and high-tech zones in the city. However, until September, only 70,000 workers who implemented the “three-on-spot” principle at enterprises were vaccinated with their second dose, so the city should hasten its vaccination schedule for workers.

Whether businesses have enough workers to return to work or not depends on the progress of enough vaccines for workers as workers need a “vaccine passport” or “green travel card” to work. This is a problem that needs to be resolved by the city government soon.

According to the HBA of Ho Chi Minh City, there are currently about 43,000 workers working at enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City who have only received their first dose of the vaccine and the time for the second dose has now been reached. These workers are scattered in areas adjacent to Ho Chi Minh City such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An. Therefore, in order to soon bring this large number of workers back to Ho Chi Minh City to work, it is necessary to have synchronous coordination between Ho Chi Minh City and localities in the vaccination work, updating their data on a common system.

According to the assessment of the Department of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs of Ho Chi Minh City, recently, some enterprises have not been able to implement the “three-on-site” plan as they have incurred too many costs to maintain production until the ending of the social distancing measures, so they had to close.

Therefore, one of the factors to ensure the operation of enterprises is the source of labour. Therefore, the city should soon have regulations on production models after re-opening, in order to create conditions for businesses to actively develop policies in recruiting workers in accordance with their production and business needs.

Translated by NDO