TPP will protect VN workers’ rights: experts

Update: August, 29/2016 - 09:00
Workers at a factory producing electronic components in Tịnh Phong industrial park in Quảng Ngãi Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s engagement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will better protect its workers by addressing issues relating to strikes, said an expert.

Vũ Quang Thọ, director of the Workers and Trade Union Institute, said at a workshop held by Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) on the forming of trade unions in the framework of the TPP agreement and other legal issues relating to their operations that the number of strikes in some sectors might increase but not much and some lawful strikes might arise.

Nguyễn Quang Thuấn, President of VASS, said at the opening speech that the signing of multiple new-generation free trade agreements, including the TPP would not only create opportunities but also challenges for Việt Nam.

It would impact the operation of the political system, including trade unions under the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), state apparatus, enterprises and especially the rights of labourers, he said.

This opinion was also shared by other participants at the workshop.

The formation of trade unions outside VGCL which represent their workers would help settle the situation that thousands of strikes took place but most of them were organised spontaneously and unlawfully, they said.

VGCL is the only one state organisation that functions as a trade union in the country.  It has a duty to protect the legal rights and interests of its members. However, much effort should be done by VGCL to meet the desires of VGCL members, Thọ said.

There have been over 5,500 strikes nation-wide since 1994, he said, of which none were organised and managed by VGCL or by its affiliate trade unions at localities.

The number of lawful strikes depended on the amending of laws to conform to TPP requirements, Thọ said.

He also said in cases where labourers were embroiled, took advantage of or incited to strikes, riots would not happen because the strikes sought to improve conditions like wages, allowances and payments for extra hours.

Nguyễn Văn Bình, deputy head of Legal Affairs Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the execution of the right to establish organisations representing labourers would have a positive impact when the labour relations have the opportunity to develop in a stable and harmonious manner. It was attributed to the fact that collective dialogue and negotiations will  be held more professionally.

Bình also warned that if regulations were not defined clearly and strictly managed, newly set-up trade unions might increase the risk of instability in labour relations within enterprises and adversely affect the investment environment and social order.

Participants at the workshop emphasised the need to enact clear and enforceable regulatory documents as the establishment of independent trade unions other than the VGCL would help to ensure the rights of the employees. — VNS