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Sectoral labour pacts ease bouts of industrial action

Update: February, 28/2014 - 08:53

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HCM CITY (VNS) — Collective labour agreements, also known as collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), in a number of sectors have provided a stable foundation for industrial relations and even reduced the number of labour disputes, officials have said.

Authorities noted a marked decline over the past three years, with no serious strikes or demonstrations taking place at any textile and garment enterprises party to collective labour agreements, said Truong Van Cam, permanent deputy president of the Viet Nam National Union of Textile and Garment Workers.

The textile and garment sector was the first to sign CBAs at a sectoral level in 2010, Cam said at a conference held recently in HCM City.

A total of 100 enterprises have so far signed CBAs, covering 136,200 labourers, he said.

Wages, bonuses and other workers' benefits such as health insurance and accommodation improved at participating enterprises, he added.

Trained workers were paid ten per cent higher than minimum wages, instead of seven per cent as regulated.

The average income of workers reached VND3.5 million (US$170) per month.

The implementation of CBAs has contributed to reducing the rate of turnover among textile and garment enterprises, particularly post-Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

The textile and garment sector attracts nearly three million workers at more than 6,000 enterprises.

Of that figure, female workers account for 70 per cent.

Massive strikes and demonstrations in the footwear and textile and garment sector accounted for 45 per cent of the total nationwide.

There were more than 3,130 strikes between 2007 and 2012, said Le Xuan Thanh, deputy director of Department of Labour and Salary.

Most of the strikes happened outside of any legal procedures and without the management of trade unions, Thanh said.

Most of them occurred at FDI enterprises (80 per cent), he said.

However, just a small number of FDI enterprises have signed CBAs at the sectoral level.

Last year the Textile and Garment Sector's Trade Union in Binh Duong Province implemented CBAs.

The sectoral CBAs will be scaled up in the textile and garment industry in HCM City and Ha Noi as well as other sectors such as rubber and railway, over the next few years, he added. — VNS

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