Workers at An Thinh leather shoes company in southern Binh Duong province were in the second day of their strike action, said an official from the company, who refused to give his name and position to AFP.

"They have violated the labour law, which may cause losses for the enterprise. So they might be sacked," he told AFP.

The workers have requested a 10 percent increase in their average monthly salary of about two million dong (111 dollars), he said.

Last year, communist Vietnam was hit by a record 762 strikes, many of them in textile and footwear plants as workers struggled with rising costs.

Inflation, which hit a record 28.3 percent in August 2008, eased in the first seven months of 2009 with fewer reported labour disputes this year.

However, it remains above nine percent, official data showed.

Vietnam bans labour unions that are independent of the ruling Communist Party, and industrial relations experts have said most workplaces lack transparent arbitration mechanisms to settle labour disputes.

Agence France Presse - August 20, 2009