Asia

Working Lives Vietnam: Textile worker

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Media captionWorking Lives Vietnam: Textile worker

Mass manufacturing has been the engine driving Vietnam's extraordinary growth in recent years and its success has been built on the efforts of millions of workers like Huynh Van Hai.

Hai was born in Hue in 1987, and moved 400 miles south to Vietnam's commercial capital Ho Chi Minh to find work.

He lives with a brother and sister in a poor part of the city, the dwelling doubling as a workshop. Making clothes continues long into the night, as the family try to supplement the money that Hai makes working in a large factory for textile company Cartina during the day.

"In general the salary and working conditions here are ok," he says. "No problem. My salary is enough to get by."

Hai has been working in this industry for ten years, starting as a delivery boy at 16, and then moving to bigger manufacturing businesses and onto the factory floor to make the clothes that often sell in the department stores and smart shops of Europe, Japan and the USA.

On a normal day, Hai works a ten-hour shift, starting at seven in the morning and finishing at five in the afternoon. He usually works extra time if he can. There are from two to four hours on top of his normal shift.

Hai lives in a small house built on what used to be a cemetery, with his young sister, her husband and his youngest brother who has just moved to the city for another manufacturing job.

At home, they all work on private garment manufacturing orders to earn extra income to send back to their parents and a younger sister, who has polio.

His immediate wish is for his sister to stay healthy. In the future, he simply wishes to build a family of his own in the city.

"I wish that I had a life with family and all that," he says. "Working as a textile worker like this forever is very tiring."