back to article Workers, guards clash in hours-long Samsung factory RIOT in Vietnam

Samsung's new cellphone factory in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam, is off to an inauspicious start, having experienced its first work-related riots before it has even opened for business. According to a report in the state-run newspaper Thanh Nien, construction workers clashed with security guards at the facility on Thursday …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not adding up

    "Clashes like the incident at Samsung's factory site are also rare in Vietnam, where the authoritarian government takes a dim view of violent labor disputes".

    So such clashes are rare in VN, but when they do happen it's total chaos? And what gov DOESN'T take a dim view of violence in labor disputes? That sort of thing ought be confined to verbal threats and the occasional kneecapping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Remember that in China workers were routinely taken advantage of, low wages, long hours and poor accomadation when the 'build it in China for Cheaper' revolution came along.

      Now during the economic down turn factory workers became more canny, competition between factories ensued, where workers were able to pick and choose where they wanted to work. Market forces took over, wages went up, conditions improved BUT costs went up, no longer as cheap as before.

      Market forces dictated that factories should open where they commanded cheaper wages, Vietnam, Thailand etc etc. The Global reach of technology is such that it is impossible to hide these things anymore. Someone will post, blog or tweet it at some stage.

      Eventually manufacturing will move to Africa.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        What needs to happen is that a company should get hit with import taxes equal to the difference between what they pay their workers and the national minimum wage to discourage undermining manufacturing jobs in our own country, otherwise the minimum wage is just a suicide pact for the companies that don't offshore.

        1. veeguy

          Re: Actually...

          I agree with you but I think we should take the concept one step further. "Developed" countries wanting to outsource production to foreign lands should be required to do a "Market Basket" study of the intended "under developed" country. A comparison of food, housing, transportation costs to give the workers a "lifestyle" equal to the workers in the ultimate destination country. To do anything else invites a rush to the lower common denominator of sweat shop bargain hunting.

          I'm not advocating absolute equality, a South East Asian worker will obviously have different food and housing costs than a European or American worker but a comparable local standard of living should be possible. If workers quality of life issues are not considered, to site your production facilities in a low wage totalitarian country is tantamount to "slavery by proxy".

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        and after that - Blighty, where there will be a plentyful supply of cheap labour and empty factories.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eventually manufacturing will move to Africa.

        It will be a brave company that go there.

        Workers rights abuse and corruption is rife in Asia, but plain old brutality and basic human rights abuse is the mainstay in Africa.

        Not to mention the constant civil wars that plague the continent.

        India/Indonesia is much more likely in the short-medium term.

        1. JaitcH
          Thumb Up

          Re: Eventually manufacturing will move to Africa.

          The Labour Rules in VietNam are well established:

          1. 48 hour maximum work week including overtime;

          2. A 6 day working week;

          3. Mandated annual vacations and national holidays with pay (13 4-week pay periods);

          4. Paid leave for childbirth and funerals/death in the family;

          5. National health plan;

          6. Workers injury compensation plan - full one years pay followed by percentile decreases thereafter;

          7. Minimum wages set by regional costs of living;

          8. Employer/employee financed pensions;

          9. Two short breaks and a lunch break included, daily.

          My employer also supplies free nursery services, fully paid for dental plan, semi-private hospital rooms, segregated male and female rooms for relaxation, gym equipment, etc

          So please don't go knocking VN labour rules - they are better than American labour rules.

    2. JaitcH

      Re: Not adding up

      The dispute involves construction company employees and independent warm-body security guards.

      Security guards over here in VietNam are not used as they are in the West. Since the Cong An (Peoples Police) spend most of their time sitting in mini-police stations, or collecting bribes. Apart from seeing Cong An driving back and forth to their homes I have not had a dealings with them for about two years.

      Bet you can't say that about the pushy Plod and Cops in the West.

      The private security industry is lightly regulated and is manned by warm-body 'Wanna-be Cops' type people. Neither are they used in a fashion that you would not recognise.

      I go to a bank in Ho Chi Minh and a 'bite' has been taken out of the public side walk so that members of the minority car driving public can park conveniently for bank access. When I park in this area, on my motorscooter, out come the nobodys in uniform and start ordering me to park elsewhere. They have no jurisdiction on this public area.

      I also ride my bicycle there and, conveniently, there is a heavy drain cover with a handle to which I chain my bicycle to. On one occasion, after warning me, they called the cops and I waited at an adjacent coffee patio and after 30 minutes the cops arrived and after viewing my bike the Cops started screaming at the guards for wasting their time.

      Every store of decent size has it's security guards. At the Giants supermarket the security guards hand search ALL staff members leaving the store INCLUDING MANAGERS. They feel they are doing the cops work. And the male guards getting their rocks off searching the females.

      All this excitement between construction workers and security guards is simply some immature guard pushing the rules, and his luck, in trying to raise his stature. Given that their motorcycles and container accommodation were destroyed by fire, it's likely a new company will be hired to take over the building site.

      P.S. Vietnamese police ALWAYS say they are investigating the matter!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slave labour and the company is owned by Samsung, it's not a contractor.

    1. asdf


      Sadly Samsung is hardly alone. The reason at least 5 of the heirs of Walmart are in the top 25 richest people is because being one of the first to use slave/child labor overseas effectively with low tariffs is very lucrative even if you are selling to the Nascar crowd.

      1. asdf

        Re: yeah

        Wow its even worse than I thought. In 2010, six members of the Walton family had the same net worth as either the bottom 28% or 41% of American families combined (depending on how it is counted).

        1. pierce

          Re: yeah

          face it, 50% of the american population is effectively worthless.

    2. JaitcH

      You are out to lunch!

      Both the security company and the construction company are non-Samsung companies.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    > "security protocols,"

    Jesus, the NSA is into everything these days...

  4. Barry Rueger

    Frist Post!

    "having experienced its first work-related riots"

    Wow! Just the thing that every potential investor wants to hear!

  5. mark 63 Silver badge

    $3.2bn to complete the construction

    $3.2bn to complete the construction?

    thats an expensive factory!

    gonna have to sell a lot of phones before that pays for itself!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $3.2bn to complete the construction

      "$3.2bn to complete the construction? thats an expensive factory!"

      Other reports suggest that this the $3.2bn is for a number of closely plants, some of which are already open. In June last year press reports said that Samsung already had 24,000 workers employed at these facilities, so it would seem that we are talking about a very big plant.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I heard that it started when one of the workers pulled out an iPhone, saying "see - this looks just like our stuff, but done properly, and done first" and the Samsung-loyal guards took offense.

  7. John Tserkezis

    I've never been to a site where identification couldn't be verified via other means, so they're just being lazy here.

    As far as the food goes, are they kidding? Did they learn nothing from the cinema outside food prohibition era? I'd be disappointed if there wasn't a riot.

    Sigh, my next phone wasn't going to be a Sammy anyway because of the bloatware, but now I have one more reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you oblivious to how bad Samsung is?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Oh, aye, because ANY of the major manufacturers are better. Apple makes some token efforts - after someone discovers issues, not proactively - but pretty much every other manufacturer in the fortune 1000 seems to have no moral qualms whatsoever about abusing or even murdering sentient, sapient beings for their own profit. To say nothing of their utter disregard for the environment.

        I too echo the calls for import tarrifs equal to the wage delta + the cost of externality nullification they enjoy by ruining the planet. No business should be allowed to externalise costs onto society; not local ones, nor foreign ones.

        We only get one planet, and each of us has but one set of days. It is wildly unethical to ruin either; for ourselves, but especially for others.

    2. JaitcH

      NO FOOD for a good reason

      Many construction industries ban food on site IN MANY COUNTRIES. This includes ship building.

      Samsung demands a food free site as food introduces rats, etc. Additionally, they are constructing some 'clean room' facilities. Lunch rooms are provided at the site BUT NOT in the building being constructed.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: NO FOOD for a good reason

        "Lunch rooms are provided at the site BUT NOT in the building being constructed."

        Is that the issue here? Or is it prohibiting workers on odd or restrictive diets from bringing in their own foods?

  8. Winkypop Silver badge


    Those lunches contained the fruit; Durian.

    I'd employ tactical nukes if this was the case.

    1. JaitcH
      Thumb Up

      Re: Maybe

      DURIAN ... my favourite fruit!

  9. veeguy

    In an attempt to pacify workers...

    I heard that Samsung is trying to pacify the disgruntled workers by giving them free cell phones with a free monthly allotment of Ho Chi Minhutes..

  10. DanceMan


    Thanks for the accurate local info.

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