Co-organized by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the NA External Affairs Committee and ILO, the event was a consultation on Viet Nam’s ratification dossier for one of the remaining core conventions which the country has not been part of.
Viet Nam has ratified five out of eight ILO fundamental conventions. The remaining conventions include Convention 98 on collective bargaining, Convention 87 on freedom of association, and Convention 105 on forced labour.
However, as a member State of the ILO, Viet Nam should respect the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) which also covers the eight core conventions, including Convention 98.
“All member States should respect, uphold and apply key principles of FPRW, regardless of level of development, as it is based on global consensus among member States of the World Trade Organization and ILO about what should be basic and universal labour conditions for fair trade of goods and services in a globalized economy,” said ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee.
It is why the eight core conventions under FPRW have entered into languages of free trade agreements (FTAs), particularly new generation FTAs such as CPPTPP (The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the FTA between the EU and Viet Nam (EVFTA), and also into most of corporate socially responsible statements of MNCs.
In the context of Viet Nam’s deeper international integration by joining FTAs, said MOLISA Vice Minister Doan Mau Diep, the roles and significance of ILO conventions, including Convention 98, have been reaffirmed.
EVFTA requires its member countries to make sustained efforts to ratify those core conventions.
“Convention 98, together with Convention 87, is important for making industrial relations system work in modern market economies,” the head of ILO Viet Nam added. “When taking effect, they contribute to sustainable development, by bringing harmony and stability and also dual progresses in improving productivity and also improving working conditions.”
Convention 98 asks member States to ensure no anti-union discrimination, ensure unions are free from employers’ interference or dominance, and to promote collective bargaining through various measures.
However, Viet Nam is no stranger to the principles of Convention 98. The Ordinance 29 on defining relations between employers and workers adopted in 1947 and signed by President Ho Chi Minh has clear and simple legal provisions which are fully aligned with Convention 98 and also Convention 87.
“It is interesting to see the labour Ordinance 29 was adopted one year earlier than Convention 87 (1948) and two years earlier than Convention 98 (1949),” said ILO Viet Nam Director. “Ho Chi Minh and ILO shared the same ideals of creating societies and economies where workers and employers are empowered to make decision together based on principles of freedom of association and collective bargaining, which should be one of core principles guiding socialist market economy in today’s Viet Nam.”
Vice Chairman of NA External Affairs Committee, Nguyen Sy Cuong, said that although Convention 98 was born almost 70 years ago, it still holds great relevance to Viet Nam’s integration policies today, which have implications to the revision of the national legal system.
He reaffirmed that the NA deputies who were consulted all agreed on the necessity of ratifying the convention.
The view was also shared by representatives of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the workshop.
Vice Minister Diep confirmed that the dossier for the ratification of Convention 98 prepared by MoLISA has been submitted by the State President to the NA for its upcoming sitting this May.
This was the second consultation workshop on Convention 98 with lawmakers, after a similar event in Can Tho Province with NA members from the South in April. Previously several rounds of consultation were conducted with different stakeholders at both national and local levels.
* This story is a product of the European Union-funded project on Promoting the application of ILO Fundamental Conventions under the framework of EU – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.