Some workers denied basic labour rights
|Workers pile glass products at Chau A Industry Joint Stock Company in Ha Noi City's Quoc Oai District. Enterprises in the city's Industrial and Processing Zones have failed to conform to employment regulations. —VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI — Several fundamental labour rights for workers are not being fulfilled by employers, according to the latest inspections.
The inspections were made by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in co-operation with Ha Noi Industrial and Export Processing Zones Management Board in 26 enterprises across the capital.
Particularly, 100 per cent of them failed to implement regular health checks for their employees on the basis of twice a year while 25 out of 26 enterprises had invalid labour contracts. They either failed to express the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in concrete terms, or contained terms that violated existing regulations.
The inspection showed that overtime in 16 enterprises exceeded the permitted threshold while 12 enterprises failed to pay social insurance premiums for their workers on time.
On average, each enterprise committed 19 offences.
MOLISA's Deputy Chief inspector Le Huu Long said employers, workers and unions were all responsible for what was happening. Most workers were unaware that their rights were being violated and even those who knew did not know what to do about it.
Employers were paying barely the minimum wage while workers, due to the scarcity of employment opportunities, had no choice but to accept potentially hazardous working conditions to earn a living.
"Some of the enterprises, solely driven by profits, were willing to violate laws as long as their violations were not serious enough to incur a jail sentence," he said.
Long said in order to tackle the issue, awareness-raising activities were necessary but far from enough. Stepping up inspections accompanied by punitive fines would be vital.
"We don't have the human resources to carry out intensive inspections. We have 150 inspectors to cover 500,000 enterprises nationwide, the figures speak for themselves," he said.
Long said to overcome the shortage of human resources, his department decided to introduce a special form of inspection.
Each enterprise would be sent a questionnaire in which they would have to assess themselves over their compliance with labour regulations.
On answering a Viet Nam News inquiry about how they would guarantee the integrity of the results, he said the questionnaire would be constructed in a way that would reveal hidden inconsistencies if an enterprise attempted to cheat.
"It will help us narrow down which enterprises need follow-up inspections," he said.
Long said the questionnaire would also help to educate the enterprises about up to date employment laws. — VNS