HCM CITY — For the last 14 years, Lê Thị Quyên from Hà Tĩnh Province did not return to her hometown for Tết holiday because she did not have enough money to travel.
“I’ve worked in the southern region for 14 years. My two sons and I have never returned to my hometown, even during Tết. My income is just enough for daily expenses, so travel is something of a luxury,” said Quyên, who works in the shoemaking industry in Bình Dương Province.
“But this year, we’re so happy to receive free tickets donated by the province’s labour union and Bình Dương authorities,” she added.
Quyên is among thousands of migrant workers who have received free tickets and Tết gifts from the trade unions in three southern provinces and HCM City.
The government of HCM City and the management board of industrial parks and export processing zones have given 37,000 workers travel tickets and Tết gifts.
Most of the workers are from central coastal provinces hit by serious floods last year.
Tôn Thất Thanh, a worker in HCM City, said: “My family and I have not gone home for Tết for the last five years. The cost is expensive for us. Each ticket from HCM City to Quảng Trị Province is about VNĐ1 million (US$45), meaning we would need to pay VNĐ3 million for my whole family.”
Thanh and his wife earn just around VNĐ10million ($450) each month.
“But this year, we’ve received support from the city authorities and the trade unions,” he said.
The Labour Federation in Bình Dương Province has raised more than VNĐ150 billion (about US$7 million) from enterprises in the province to support migrant workers.
Aside from 20,000 free tickets given to migrants to return to their hometowns, the province’s worker support programmes have donated 500,000 gifts to another 140,000 workers who have decided to stay near their workplace during Tết.
In addition, the Việt Nam General Federation of Labour has given 1,200 train tickets and 160 bus tickets to low-income workers in Bình Dương, Long An and Đồng Nai provinces so they can return to their hometowns in the central and northern provinces. — VNS
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