Multi-employer collective bargaining offers workers, employers new opportunities
The success of this agreement, the first one of its kind, can help Viet Nam successfully implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership obligations as a member state of the ILO.
The agreement is expected to benefit 700 workers – with 60 per cent being women – in the Vietnam Vitours Tourism Jsc, Phuong Dong Viet Tourism Jsc, Phu An Thinh Trade and Tourism Co. and Saigontourane Hotel.
“This is the first time trade unions and employers in Viet Nam have successfully negotiated collective agreements, covering a multiple number of enterprises rather than one enterprise. It is a major innovation of labour relations practices,” said the Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Viet Nam, Chang-Hee Lee.
The same conditions have been agreed in the collective agreement, covering various important topics including an increase of 3.3 per cent in the base wage paid by the four enterprises above the Government designated minimum wage and improvements in mid-shift meal and other allowances. These will be applied to all four enterprises.
“A multi-employer collective agreement can reduce staff turnover and promote stable labour relations. It is because workers will have less incentive to leave one employer for another, as similar conditions apply to all,” said the ILO Viet Nam Director. “It is good for workers as they can enjoy the same working conditions in solidarity with workers across enterprises, and good for employers, as they can have more stable labour relations.”
The bargaining process for the agreement lasted two months, with many rounds of difficult negotiation where workers and employers participated throughout the process in bottom-up manner, with the support the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the ILO.
“This kind of democratic practice of collective bargaining can help Viet Nam in successfully implementing the Trans-Pacific Partnership obligations as a member state of the ILO,” the ILO Viet Nam Director added.
According to VGCL Vice Chairman Mai Duc Chinh, the practices and lessons learnt from this pilot in Da Nang are important for the VGCL to promote, including the high level of consultation with the workforce during the whole process, the coordination between the unions and the bargaining that has resulted on base wage improvement and other benefits.