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Top lawmakers debate draft amendments to Labour Code

Update: March, 28/2012 - 10:27

HA NOI — The National Assembly Standing Committee discussed numerous labour-related topics during its sixth session yesterday and talked about plans for the upcoming third session of the 13th National Assembly to be held in May.

Hot topics of discussion included articles to the amended draft Labour Code related to salary, employment contracts, maternity leave and labour dispute settlements.

Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung said it was necessary to set a minimum salary level that was high enough for workers to cover their essential living expenses.

The draft amended Labour Code should also regulate a mechanism or rule to ensure that workers in enterprises received payments that were appropriate with their productivity and working hours, he said.

Many enterprises were reluctant to set payments that matched workers' efforts and work results, he said, adding that their salary increases did not match the growth of their labour productivity and the increasing work hours.

According to Truong Thi Mai, Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs, the draft code should regulate that socio-economic conditions and real salary levels in the labour market were the two major basic factors to define minimum salary levels.

She said employers throughout the world paid salaries based on work positions, working hours and productivity. In Viet Nam, the draft code regulates the basic salary levels which enterprises use to set up their own salary tables.

Formation of the National Salary Council with representatives including employers, employees and State management agencies should be mentioned in the draft code, Mai said. This council would be responsible for giving consultations, appraisals and initiatives to the State on minimum salary levels and national salary policies.

Dang Ngoc Tung, president of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, said labour strikes resulted from inappropriate salaries so enterprises needed to ask for opinions from their trade unions before deciding on salary levels. Then the levels could be reported to the local departments of labour, invalids and social affairs.

Regarding the articles related to employment contracts, the NA Standing Committee on Social Affairs suggested that a fixed-term employment contract should last between one and six years, instead of one and 10 years as suggested in the amended draft. If the fixed contract was too long, workers would have to deal with more unfavourable conditions in signing and indefinite contract terms.

The committee said maternity leave for all female employees should be lengthened to six months instead of being classified into two kinds as proposed in the amended draft code: five months for employees who work in normal conditions and six months for those who work in hazardous and difficult conditions.

The committee also suggested specific regulations in the draft code on labour dispute settlement procedures and responsibilities of people involved.

Members of the Standing Committee agreed with these suggestions.

On the agenda

According to Nguyen Hanh Phuc, head of the NA Office, the main content of the coming session would focus on reviewing and passing 13 draft laws and one draft resolution as well as the socio-economic development report and State budget for 2011 and the first months of this year.

NA deputies will also review and discuss the comprehensive plan for economic restructuring and plans for improving the effectiveness of the National Assembly operations.

Phan Trung Ly, chairman of the National Assembly's Law Committee, suggested it was necessary for the NA deputies to have access to the draft laws and related materials long before the opening of the upcoming session to give them enough time to review and study their contents. Deputies should also hold more discussions.

If necessary, voting should be delayed on some draft laws to obtain more opinions from inspection committees and for preparation of amendments, he said.

Ksor Phuoc, chairman of the NA Council of Ethnic Affairs, suggested that the coming session should focus on discussing and finding solutions for the hot issues which were attracting public attention such as new vehicle fees, faults in the Tranh River Hydropower plant, traffic projects and low-income housing projects.

Any issues directly affecting people's lives should be prioritised for NA discussion, he said.

The third session of the 13th National Assembly is planned for May 21st-June 22nd. — VNS

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