Workers at all non-State enterprises and organisations will be entitled to minimum monthly wage increases ranging from of 100,000-370,000 VND (5-19 USD) as of next year.

The rises will take the minimum salary level for workers in foreign-invested businesses to between 1.1-1.55 million VND (55-75 USD) against the current level of 1-1.34 million VND (50-67 USD) per month.

Workers at domestic businesses and organisations will see their minimum salary increase from 730,000-980,000 VND (36.5-49 USD) per month to 830,000-1.35 million VND (41.5-67.5 USD).

The salary increase will apply to employees working for businesses split into four regions as of January 1 and July 1, 2011, under two newly-issued Government decrees.

"It is a good news to hear about the salary increase but it is still not enough to help workers like us cover daily expenses, including food and accommodation, because the cost of many things has increased," said Do Minh Hang, a worker at a garment and textile company in Hanoi.

Deputy head of the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority Nguyen Tan Dinh said the salary increase failes to match the reality as the average salary of many businesses in industrial zones has risen to more than 2 million VND (100 USD).

The low minimum salary level would hinder recruitment as it could not compete with other businesses, he said at a recent conference in HCM City to discuss the salary increase plan.

A survey conducted earlier this year by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs involving 1,700 enterprises revealed that about 90 per cent of them had already increased salaries to higher than the minimum levels set out for 2011.

Chairman of the Craft Villages Association Vu Quoc Tuan said the salary increase is not enough and the latest survey shows that the current minimum salary level meets only 30-40 percent of workers' needs.

Economic expert Vo Tri Thanh, deputy head of the Central Economic Management Research Institute, said salaries should be linked with productivity, not the consumer price index, to motivate business development./.