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More Workers Needed For Lao Garment Industry

Source: Vientiane Times

The garment industry in Laos requires more workers, both skilled and unskilled, with almost all garment factories in Vientiane now reopening as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

However, all factories must comply with the measures laid down by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, with the government extending the partial lockdown until August 3.

The garment factory owned by Diep Vu Co., Ltd (DVL) in Xamket village in Sikhottabong district, is one of several in Vientiane now seeking new hires after reopening in recent weeks.

“Our factory welcomes people who want to make goods for export, but employees must have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and test negative for the virus,” Personnel Manager Mr Bounkhong Choummaly told Vientiane Times last week.

The factory currently has at least 700 employees, of whom at least 600 have had two vaccinations. The remainder are exempt, either because they are pregnant or they have a medical condition for which the vaccine is contra-indicated.

“Our factory is seeking new hires for various positions, but our main need is for tailors,” Mr Bounkhong said.

After the government ordered the temporary closure of garment factories at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in April, the factory experienced a shortage of workers upon reopening, he added.

The garment industry requires over 10,000 workers, with both skilled and inexperienced employees needed, according to the Association of the Lao Garment Industry (ALGI).

Workers are mostly needed by garment factories in Special Economic Zones, while a labour shortage has also been reported among garment factories in Vientiane, President of the Association of the Lao Garment Industry (ALGI), Dr Xaybandith Rasphone said.

“Both skilled and unskilled workers are welcome to work in the garment industry, but they must have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and test negative for the virus.” “Authorities have provided accommodation for people coming from other provinces in search of work in the garment industry, so they can stay in a protected environment and avoid catching Covid-19, and business owners will be able to interview those who are selected,” Dr Xaybandith said. People interested in working in the garment industry are advised to contact labour and social welfare offices and the Lao Garment Association.

There are currently about 63,000 people unemployed in Laos, including those already in the country and migrant workers who have returned to Laos because of the pandemic.

Some migrant workers have returned home to work on their family rice farms, while others have struggled to find employment.
Thousands of Lao nationals working in Thailand began returning home during the Covid-19 outbreak last year. The government has called on citizens working abroad to return home through official border crossings so they can be properly screened for the coronavirus.