Ngọ Duy Hiếu, vice president of the Việt Nam Confederation of Trade Unions, talks to Việt Nam Economy about the confederation’s resolve to stand by workers.
What have been the impacts of enterprises failing to pay insurance for workers?
In 2017, the Việt Nam Fatherland Front, the Government Inspectorate, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Việt Nam Social Insurance jointly conducted a supervisory mission on the implementation of the Social Insurance Law in five random provinces and cities nationwide. During their mission, they detected a total of VNĐ28 billion (US$) in social insurance had not been paid by these provinces.
The delegation found that owners of enterprises had not paid compulsory social insurance, health insurance or unemployment insurance for over 1,200 employees.
Following the inspection, the delegation came up with over 130 conclusions and petitions against those enterprises and agencies in the five provinces and cities to remind them to uphold the Vietnamese Laws on Social Insurance, Health Insurance and Unemployment Insurance.
According to Vietnamese law, the trade union could file a lawsuit against the employers for failing to pay insurance on behalf of their employees. Why has this not been done?
Under Vietnamese law, the trade union can act as a representative for workers to launch a lawsuit against employers for failing to pay insurance for them. However, I think some grassroots union leaders may be reluctant to take such strong action as they are afraid it would negatively impact employees. In addition, there are still some unresolved issues in Vietnamese laws on how to settle the issue of paying workers’ insurance schemes.
If the workers want to initiate an appeal against their employers for not paying their social insurance, what should they do?
The Việt Nam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) wants to have working sessions with the National Assembly Standing Committee, the People’s Supreme Court, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and Việt Nam Social Insurance to discuss solutions to solve these outstanding problems.
We hope there will be a guideline in instructing trade unions to deal with employers for failing to pay for social insurance. At present, the VGCL is drafting a proposal to develop a legal document to train lawyers specialising labour related issues. It is expected by 2020, Việt Nam will have some 50 lawyers in the field.
Has the trade union adopted any measures to protect workers’ legal rights?
In the last few years, the Việt Nam Trade Union has taken measures to protect workers’ rights and interests, particularly in developing the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Health Insurance and the Law on Employment. The Việt Nam Trade Union has worked closely with agencies to launch communication campaigns to raise general awareness on the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Health Insurance and the Law on Unemployment.
Each year, the Việt Nam General Confederation of Trade Union (VGCL) organises an inspection on the implementation of these laws at between 115-200 enterprises in 4-6 provinces/cities.
The VGCL has also attended inspections organised by MOLISA to inspect the Labor Law enforcement in many localities nationwide. On such missions, we paid special attention to the enforcement to the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Health Insurance and the Law on Unemployment. VNS