A sudden termination of land-use contract by a property leasing company has triggered a protest by hundreds of workers of a Big C supermarket in central province of Da Nang.
About 200 employees of the Big C supermarket located in the city downtown area reportedly gathered at around 5:00 p.m. local time yesterday, held up banners with content asking local authorities to intervene in resolving their dispute with Duc Manh Corporation, the property company that they accused of “impeding their business activity”.
The protest attracted curiosity of hundreds of local citizens, resulting into a severe traffic congestion. Dozens of police and civil military officers have been mobilized to control the situation. At 6:00 p.m., Deputy Chairman of Da Nang People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh arrived at the scene and subsequently convinced the crowd to disband.
Minh then convened an emergency meeting inside the supermarket to discuss the issue. Representative of Duc Manh Corporation wasn’t present.
Operations manager of Big C Da Nang Nguyen Thi To Nga said the supermarket has a 40-year lease contract with Duc Manh Corporation, starting from 2006. However, this company has recently “reclaimed” the ground without stating any reason.
Nga accused Duc Manh company of hampering business operations of the Big C store by locking down stairs and waste water tank valve while cutting water line of the building, forcing the supermarket to buy from locals.
"Not only unilaterally terminating the contract, the company [Duc Manh] has also installed barricades to block the supermarket’s entrance. We have already filed a motion to Vietnam International Arbitration Center earlier this year,” Nga said.
Local citizens gather in front of the Big C Da Nang supermarket. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
The dispute between Big C Da Nang and the Duc Manh Corporation has been going on since February. On March 3, Da Nang Judicial authorities issued a directive with measures to support the arbitration procedure between the two parties.
Big C was requested not to gather employees to hold protest, inciting disorder in the city. Meanwhile, Duc Manh Corporation was ordered to “cease to perform any action that could interfere with or affect the business operations of Big C supermarket," including barricading the entrance or sealing the area. However, this company on July 7 has errected barriers to prevent employers and customers of entering the store.
Da Nang authorities has then ordered the two parties to respect the decision of the Courts and also stated that tolerence is low. “If this behavior continues to repeat, the case will be handed over to criminal authorities,” Deputy Chairman Minh said. He also asked related departments to hold a meeting with both parties today to settle the case.
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