Impact Assessment

Welcoming Viet Nam’s labour rights commitments, ILO stands ready for support

ILO - The International Labour Organization (ILO) in Viet Nam has welcomed the Government’s commitment to respect, promote and realize the ILO’s fundamental principles and rights at work in its statement released on 20 November 2015. The country and its partners recently concluded the negotiations on the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The deals refer to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) which commits the ILO member countries to respect and comply with eight core conventions covering the key areas of freedom of association, the right to organize and collective bargaining, and elimination of forced labour, child labour and workplace discrimination.
“The commitment expressed by the Government regarding the ILO standards on Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining shows that Viet Nam is ready to comply fully with the universal principles upheld by ILO member states,” said ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee.
“The ILO is ready to provide full support, once requested by the ILO’s tripartite constituents, to the Government and representative organizations of workers and employers in bringing Viet Nam’s laws, institutions and practices to closer compliance with the relevant ILO standards, which will promote growth, equity and harmony in Viet Nam.”
Under the labour chapters of the TPP and EU-Viet Nam FTA, the country is obliged to reform both its legal system and its institutions and practices to ensure the realization of the fundamental principles and rights at work, if it is to reap full benefits of the favourable conditions offered under the FTAs. It means, for example, that Viet Nam’s industrial relations system will need to develop in coming years to allow workers and employers to organize or join organizations of their own choosing. 
“An industrial relations system based on freedom of association and the recognition of the right to collective bargaining is a common feature of modern market economies,” the head of ILO Viet Nam said. “International experiences show that it contributes to more equitable growth and to industrial harmony, as it helps to provide a better balance of power between workers and employers and give voice to workers in determining wages and working conditions through dialogue.” 
He added that there is a broad support in the global community, including the US and the EU, for Viet Nam’s successful reform. 
“The ILO is ready to provide its full support, not only for a legislative reform but also for strengthening the capacity of the Government, workers and employer’s organizations, and for improving institutions and practices so that Viet Nam can fully enjoy the benefits of the FTAs. More importantly, this will help to lay a foundation for equitable growth based on social justice,” he said as the ILO Country Office awaits the official request of the Government for the ILO’s support. 
Viet Nam became a member of the ILO in 1992 and has ratified 21 ILO conventions, including five out of eight core ones.
The EU and Viet Nam reached an agreement in principle for an FTA in August 2015 whereas the negotiations among 12 Pacific Rim countries for the TPP concluded last October.

Source: ILO

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