|Workers with financial difficulties get gifts as part of a project to improve labour relations at companies in industrial parks, export processing zones and high-tech parks. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ|
HCM CITY – HCM City saw a decrease in the number of strikes last year compared to 2015 thanks to a project on labour relations that began in 2014, according to the city’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Fifty-four strikes occurred last year, 29 cases less than in 2015, Lê Minh Tấn, head of the department, said at a workshop held in HCM City last week.
“Employees’ rights and benefits had not been fully ensured, including annual salary increases, insufficient quality of meals after shifts and working hours,” Tấn said.
He said that employers had not followed labour regulations, carried out dialogues, or signed labour agreements with their employees.
Deputy chairwoman of the city’s People’s Committee, Nguyễn Thị Thu, said that dialogues between employees and employers were essential in reducing the number of strikes.
Such meetings could be held at factories, she said, adding that timely discussions about disagreements were especially important.
Lê Thị Giàu, head of Bình Tây Food Joint-Stock Company in Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7, said the company, after taking part in the labour relations project, had not seen conflicts.
The labour agreement, issued in February between the staff and the company, is valid for three years.
“Dialogues between the company’s leaders and employees have helped solve complaints in a timely fashion,” she added.
Tấn said the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has worked on a pilot programme with people’s committees in seven districts with the highest number of strikes before 2014 and the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority (HEPZA).
The programme involves surveillance and sufficient and timely assessment of labour relations at enterprises at risk of labour conflicts and strikes. The districts included 7, 9, 12, Thủ Đức, Bình Tân, Hóc Môn and Củ Chi.
The number of moderators for labour conflicts was increased by 11, raising the total in all city districts to 128. The moderators received professional training, which had helped reduce conflicts and strikes, Tấn said.
To raise awareness of employees and employers, more communications about labour regulations and laws had been disseminated.
Trần Hảo Trí, a moderator in charge of labour conflicts in Thủ Đức District, said that he had worked with staff of the district’s labour division and provided timely assistance in guiding enterprises when there were signs of conflicts.
As a result, they were able to prevent strikes at Freetrend Industrial Việt Nam Co. Ltd and Trường Lợi Co.Ltd.
The department’s inspectors have also sped up inspections of labour safety and hygiene, gender equality and the use of child labour at enterprises.
In addition, the department’s district divisions have worked with local trade unions to require enterprises to sign or amend labour agreements with their employees to ensure a 13th-month salary, bonuses for helpful initiatives, and holiday time, among others.
“Many enterprises in their agreements provided allowances such as bus tickets for their employees before and after Lunar New Year holidays,” Tấn said.
Enterprises in Thủ Đức District, for example, presented 3,359 bus tickets to their employees on these occasions. More than 4,200 gifts were presented to workers with financial difficulties who could not return to their hometown during the Lunar New Year holiday (Tết).
Nguyễn Đình Dũng, a representative of the city’s Department of Construction, said new dormitories for employees would improve their quality of life and help reduce the number of strikes.
The city’s steering board for worker dormitories aims to have 245,000 accommodations at industrial parks, export processing zones and hi-tech parks by 2020, he said.
Of the figure, enterprises would invest in space living for 40,000 people and the remaining would be funded by individuals.
As of 2016, 34 projects with a total of 5,514 rooms for more than 39,000 workers had been completed, accounting for more than 15 per cent of demand for accommodation for workers in the city.
Nineteen projects covering a total area of 79 hectares are now being carried out, Dũng said.
As of last year, the city had more than 1,570 enterprises with a total of nearly 368,500 workers at industrial parks, export processing zones and hi-tech parks.
Of the number of workers, around 70 per cent are from other provinces and cities. Nearly 258,000 workers need accommodation.
By 2020, the city is expected to have around 402,000 workers, and of that number, 281,400 will need accommodation. – VNS