Laws look to improve labour relations

VietNamNet Bridge – The revised Labour Code and Trade Union Law were the legal foundation for the development of industrial relations and labour in Viet Nam, Truong Thi Mai, the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee Chairwoman, said yesterday, Sept 24.

Mai was speaking at a conference to give social partners and the public an insight into important changes introduced by the amended laws.

The conference was organised by the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Viet Nam.

Mai said the new Labour Code and Trade Union Law would come into effect in January and May next year.
Confederation vice-president Mai Duc Chinh said the revised Trade Union Law corrected the weaknesses of the 1990 version and helped develop sound industrial relations. He said this should result in better socio-economic development.

One of the major changes in the laws requires the Government to develop a more active role in supporting collective bargaining between employers and trade unions as the real representative of workers, Chinh said.

"Once real collective bargaining begins to take place, it is expected to reduce wild-cat strikes in Viet Nam, allowing disputes to follow procedures provided by the law," Chinh said, "This will also benefit business, including foreign investors, who will find stable industrial relations to promote growth and predictability."

Last year, the country recorded 987 strikes, the biggest in recent history. A confederation survey found that a total of 331 wild-cat strikes had been recorded by the end of June this year.

"I have no doubt that the revised Labour Code and Trade Union Law will equip the Vietnamese Government and social partners with the tools needed to address some of the significant challenges as the country prepares for market economy status in 2016," said director of the ILO's Social Dialogue Sector Sandra Polaski.

"The challenge now lies in how effectively these changes are actually put into practice," she said.

Chairwoman Mai added that building sound and advanced industrial relations would be a process attached to efforts to create a full socialist-oriented market economy.

According to the ILO in Viet Nam, 1.3 million Vietnamese are now unemployed. Among this group, those aged between 15 and 24 represent about half. Youth unemployment is on the rise.