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Quang Binh Forest Rangers Quit En Masse Due to Low Wages, Slow Pay

Waves of forest rangers leaving their job has created a domino effect of more rangers quitting as the result of more stressful work.

According to Dan Tri, in recent years, the number of forest rangers in Vietnam who have quit their job has continually increased. Long Dai Industrial Forestry Company, which oversees the Khe Giua afforestation area, only has 24 guards to protect 28,000 hectares of land, compared to 40 in the past. Similarly, the number of guards in the Truong Son afforestation area has fallen from 40 to 27. 

Many Quang Binh forest rangers said that they can’t afford to continue the job because not only is the work stressful and dangerous, but they simply can’t make ends meet with their current income. The monthly salary of a forest ranger in the province ranges from as low as VND2.5 million, and up to VND5 million. On top of this, payments have been slow in recent years.

“It’s no surprise many have left [their jobs] — dealing with heavy workload and pressure, yet didn’t get paid a penny for six months to feed their families,” said a forest ranger.

Another forest ranger working in the Truong Son area expressed a similar sentiment: “The company owed them five months of salary, so many lost patience and quit. All the payments for 2018 were only paid in full by March 2019. For 2019, it’s already August but they have only just paid our April’s salary.”

Chau Ngoc Duong, director of the Truong Son afforestation, area told Tuoi Tre last month that the reason why payment has been so slow is that the forest protection funds come in a small amount for each phase. The fund that provides for all the ranger salaries is overseen by the Ministry of Finance. This situation leads to many companies having to borrow money from different individuals to pay their employees.

Another company informed Tien Phong that in the past, most forest ranger salaries came from forest exploitation. Ever since the government shut down such activities, the companies have had to rely on funds for forest protection and preservation, which isn’t sufficient.

[Photo via Vietnamnet]

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