Migrant workers need protection

Update: March, 05/2014 - 09:37

Deputy chairman of the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee Bui Si Loi spoke with Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) about safeguarding migrant labourers' rights.

The topics of migrant labourers' rights and life in industrial parks have been discussed a lot. Do these issues continue to be a concern?

In the context of economic difficulties, the turnover from industrial processing and economic parks has contributed an important part to the country's GDP. The country has more than 200 operating industrial parks which attract more than 2 million labourers, of which 80 to 90 per cent are migrants, especially at the big industrial parks. So, many pressing and regular issues relating to the migrant's rights and life require our attention.

Survey and research results show that the main issues are law education and dissemination for migrants, including the Labour Code, social insurance and labour union laws.

The other issues are jobs, housing, kindergarten schools for migrant children or residence registration for labourers. The children of migrant workers have been facing difficulties in registering for schools because they are not registered as permanent residents. Last but not least are issues relating to social support from the Government and the local authorities, spiritual life and the fight against social evils and security in industrial parks.

What are the measures that can strengthen law enforcement of migrant rights?

For me, three measure groups should be put forward for the protection of migrant labourers in industrial and processing parks. I absolutely emphasise that labourers must be the ones to decide their lives themselves.

About measure groups, it is necessary to pay attention to the labour unions. The labour union's position was very important in the revised Labour Code. The union was the mainstay of support and protected the legal benefits of the labourer. For example, the labour union would organise meetings between the employer and labourers. The union should ensure that all workers have labour contracts or agreements that follow the Labour Code. In labour disputes, the union would be the representative of the labourers or set up confrontations or go on strike.

The measures relating to local authorities' responsibilities are residence registration management and social policies to support labourers in housing, market and infrastructure.

The other measures are inspections and handling violations. We asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' inspection authority to take part in and handle violations relating to labourers' benefits.

How should measures be implemented for protecting the labourer's rights?

Comprehensive measures should be implemented to ensure income and related social policies for the labourers, such as social and health insurance. The care of labourers and protection of their rights were the responsibility of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour.

Social and low-income housing programmes have been proposed to the Government to resolve the issue of housing for workers. Measures are also needed to tackle the issues of kindergarten schools and learning for workers' children because if we do not pay enough attention to education, they could be caught in a vicious circle of poverty forever.

The residence law has been revised with an aim to tackle problems relating to residence registration for those living in industrial parks, including migrant labourers. The current laws and regulations have posed difficulties for migrant workers and their children in matters of living, learning and health care services.

Currently, some models involving information kiosks, groups of workers in residence areas, self-management by workers in enterprises or mobile legal consulting have shown effectiveness in supporting and protecting migrant workers. These measures should be implemented throughout the country. — VNS