HANOI (ILO News) –The revised Labour Code and Trade Union Law offer the Vietnamese Government important tools to address some major challenges for Viet Nam’s development with its new middle-income status but putting the new laws into reality will be no less challenging.
A conference entitled “Introduction of the Labour Code and Trade Union Law: Opportunities and Challenges” was organised in Hanoi today by the National Assembly’s Social Committee, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Viet Nam to give social partners and the public an insight into the important changes brought about by the amended laws.
Addressing the event, National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ms Truong Thi Mai said the new Labour Code and Trade Union Law, to come into effect in May and January 2013, respectively, are adapted to the new reality of the labour market and industrial relations.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Mr Pham Minh Huan said: “The 2012 Labour Code is a leap forward in simplifying red tapes and an important tool to improve the State management in labour issues.”
Meanwhile, the revised Trade Union Law corrects the weaknesses of the 1990 version and helps develop sound industrial relations, which will result in better socio-economic development, according to VGCL Vice President Mr Mai Duc Chinh.
One of the major changes in the two laws requires the Government to develop a more active role in facilitating and supporting collective bargaining between employers and trade unions as the real representative of workers.
Once real collective bargaining begins to take place, it is expected to reduce wild-cat strikes in Vietnam, allowing disputes to follow the procedures provided by the law. This will also benefit business, including foreign investors, who will find stable industrial relations provide enabling environment for productivity growth and predictability. Last year, the country recorded 987 strikes, the biggest yearly number recorded in history. A VGCL survey found out that a total of 331 wild-cat strikes was recorded by the end of June this year.
Other key amendments that will have strong positive impact on industrial relations include the establishment of the National Wage Council as the main body to fix minimum wages, the introduction of labour sub-leasing [where employees of a special “labour sub-leading enterprise” are sent to work temporarily at another company] as a new employment arrangement, and the protection of part-time workers and domestic workers.
The revised Labour Code also creates the possibility for recognising employment relationship between an employer and a worker on the basis of actual relationship, even if a formal labour contract is not signed between them.
Changes aimed at eliminating forced labour and child labour, and measures to bring the protection of young workers closer in line with international labour standards are also introduced in the revised Labour Code.
“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 Ms Sandra Polaski, Executive Director of the ILO’s Social Dialogue Sector “The challenge now lies in how effectively these changes are actually put into practice.”
Ms Mai also added: “Building sound, stable and advanced industrial relations is a process attached to Vietnam’s efforts of reaching full socialism-oriented market economy. The effects of the Labour Code depend on its implementation and responsibilities of the Government, employers and employees themselves.”
The ILO commited to providing technical assistance to help the Vietnamese Government effectively implement the new laws.
For further information please contact:
Mr Lam Van Doan
Social Affairs Committee, National Assembly Office
Tel.: 080 46748
Ms Tran Quynh Hoa
ILO Country Office for Viet Nam
Tel.: 04 3734 0902