Viet Nam commits to strengthening legal frameworks for employer-worker negotiations

Viet Nam has announced it is taking steps to strengthen its legal framework by creating a better environment for workers and employers to settle differences as they arise.

Press release | 01 April 2010

(ILO Hanoi) Viet Nam has announced it is taking steps to strengthen its legal framework by creating a better environment for workers and employers to settle differences as they arise.

The announcement was made at a national conference on the Future of Industrial Relations and the Revision of the Labour Code and Trade Union Law, in Hanoi 1-2 April 2010. The conference was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office in Viet Nam in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

“The establishment of a better framework of laws for workers and employers to meet and negotiate, and the strengthening of the capacities of both sides in a changing economic environment, highlights our commitment to better resolving labour disputes,” Mr Nguyen Thanh Hoa, Vice Minister of MOLISA told the conference.

Wildcat strikes and the shortcomings of some trade unions in effectively representing workers have made headlines in recent years. This conference provided an opportunity to review the draft revisions of two laws that cover industrial relations, namely the Labour Code and Trade Union Law. The revisions are being finalized for submission and deliberation by the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

In a keynote address to the participants, Mr Kari Tapiola, Executive Director, ILO Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work emphasized that harmonious industrial relations are a key feature of successful transitional economies.

“At the heart of building a viable industrial relations system is ensuring and promoting genuinely representative and independent organizations of workers and employers,” Mr Tapiola said. “Viet Nam is moving towards building its own model of industrial relations. There is one common fundamental principle for all effective industrial relations – the organizations of workers and employers need to be capable of truly representing their constituents.”

The conference looked at three important factors in the revision of the Labour Code and Trade Union Law. Firstly the broader context of challenges Viet Nam faces in its efforts to deepen integration into the global economy and develop an effective industrial relations system appropriate for the market-oriented economy. Secondly the major changes proposed in the draft revisions from the perspectives of each of the actors: the Government, trade unions and employers’ organizations. Thirdly, the revisions to the Labour Code regarding the key issues of employment practice, labour standards and working conditions and their implications for industrial relations in Viet Nam. The Conference also looked at the draft revisions from the viewpoint of international labour standards and Viet Nam’s efforts to deepen international integration.

“Viet Nam’s economy has been an extraordinary success story,” said Mr John Hendra, United Nations Resident Coordinator. “But if this is going to be successfully matched on the social side, the revisions need to be based on the core principles of harmonious industrial relations, social dialogue and tripartism.”

The conference was chaired by key leaders of MOLISA, ILO and representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations in Viet Nam, namely: Mr Nguyen Thanh Hoa and Mr Pham Minh Huan, Vice Ministers of MOLISA; Mr Kari Tapiola from the ILO, Mr John Hendra, United Nations Resident Coordinator; Mr Hoang Van Dung, Vice President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Mr Mai Duc Chinh, Vice President of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL).

Participants included representatives of the tripartite partners at local levels, legislative bodies, state administration bodies at central and provincial levels, organizations involved in industrial relations, business associations, and academia. Representatives from other international organizations and embassies were also present.

A signing ceremony was later held for a new Viet Nam-ILO Industrial Relations Project, funded by the One UN and implemented by the ILO and MOLISA in coordination with social partners and relevant bodies and organizations. The two-year, two million (US) dollar project will provide support to all the tripartite constituents in the revision of the Labour Code and the Trade Union law and in building their capacities to become effective partners in industrial relations. In particular, the project will support VGCL to strengthen the capacity of trade unions at grassroots and senior levels, strengthen employers to build their representative organizations, and assist the government to establish effective institutions to promote sound industrial relations.

For more information please contact:

Ms Le Thi Huong Lien
Communication Officer
ILO Office in Vietnam
Tel: 7340902 ext 206, Email

Mr Allan Dow
Regional Information Officer a.i.
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
Tel: + 662 288 2057, Email