Vietnam has witnessed more strikes than any other Asian country in the past decade, despite its vibrant economy. However, this regular industrial action has not deterred foreign investors from setting up manufacturing facilities in the country, as wages are about half those of China. Beneath the wildcat strike culture lies a deterioration in living standards to the extent that some Vietnamese workers have to conserve energy due to inadequate food and malnutrition. The article presents an analysis of more than a decade of strikes in Vietnam, moving from a period of relative industrial peace to a strike wave. Using statistical data, it argues that the Vietnamese state’s macroeconomic policy and inability to control inflation are partly responsible for the country’s deteriorating conditions, as is capital exploitation. Foreign investors are increasing impatience with these labour disturbances and are relentlessly pressuring the Vietnamese government to suppress strikes, but thus far the Vietnamese government has shown no signs of doing so.