Social Dialogue in Vietnam – Using the New Law
Social dialogue is especially difficult in countries where there is single party rule, and a trade union structure that is entirely subordinated to the ruling party. This is the case in China and Vietnam, throughout most of the Middle East and in some countries of Central Asia, for example.
Just Solutions was asked by Initiativ for etisk handel, the Norwegian Ethical Trading Initiative to design a training programme for a group of factories in the Dialogue@Work Vietnam project.
We used a little known and less understood piece of legislation. When the Labour Code in Vietnam was last revised, a new clause was introduced on “democracy at the workplace”.
In June 2013, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) published a regulation providing the detail of how this clause would be implemented.
This gave the scope for workplace social dialogue situations where there was a trade union, but also where there was not a trade union.
We prepared a comprehensive suite of training materials for managers and workers and trained a group of Vietnamese trainers to deliver this.
This was a small project, covering a limited group of factories, but the independent evaluation concluded:
“there were 16 health & safety improvements; two factories solved issues on harsh treatment and discrimination; wage regulations went smoothly in all factories and social benefits beyond legal requirements were agreed.”
The training materials and approach have been adapted for another project by a European development agency, and is now being looked at by a major brand.