Nguyen Thien Nhan (L), Chairman of the Fatherland Front Central Committee (Photo: baochinhphu.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Chairman of the Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has urged the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) to better protect the interest of workers ahead of pressures from upcoming free trade agreements.

The VGCL should forecast and confront challenges that may face workers during the integration process, and it should organize measures for better adaptation, Nhan said at a working session with the VGCL on September 20.

As upcoming trade changes loom, trade unions should also focus on promoting movements to increase production and improve workers’ productivity, he said.

Nhan added that the VGCL needs to continue developing trade union organisation, expanding membership with small- and medium-sized businesses and developing a qualified trade union staff who are pioneers in building a harmonized relations between workers and their employers.

He affirmed that the Vietnam Fatherland Front will continue coordinating with the VGCL to review the adoption of regulations on social insurance by businesses and to contribute opinions to the process of amending the Labour Law, which plays an important role in the nation’s social life and legal system.

The VGCL proposed that the Fatherland Front collaborate closely in building laws and regulations that work for workers, and also increase supervision over issues relating to social and health insurance.

The VGCL reported that it has more than 9.2 million members as of May this year. In the first seven months of the year, trade unions at all levels carried out more than 11,300 inspections over the implementation of worker-related policies and organized law consultancy for over 141,000 workers.

Trade unions at all levels worked with relevant agencies to quickly deal with emerging issues in labour relations and to tackle difficulties in production and trade activities. The goal is to stabilise employment and income for workers, it said.

Social security cooperation

Vietnam Social Security (VSS) will provide data as evidence for labour unions to sue enterprises that tried to avoid paying insurance for their employees.

This is part of a cooperation agreement signed on September 20 by VSS and the VGCL to ensure the rights and benefits of employees.

Every enterprise with more than 10 employees is supposed to jointly pay for their workers three types of insurance, namely social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance.

However, insurance debts have been reported as enterprises delay or avoid paying insurance for their employees.

VSS’s statistics shows that accumulated insurance debt by the end of July was some 14 trillion VND.

Last year, insurance debt in Vietnam reached more than 7.6 trillion VND (339.2 million USD).

Bui Van Cuong, President of the VGCL, said 102,900 enterprises and organisations across the country were reportedly in social insurance debt, affecting 2.66 million employees.

He said labour unions, on behalf of the employees, could sue employers who did not pay for insurance under the Civil Procedure Code approved last year, which came into effect in July this year.

“Data provided by VSS included the list of insurance debtors and their debts, which could be used as evidence to sue employers violating rules,” Cuong said.

Previously, social security agencies were empowered to sue insurance debtors, but under the Law on Social Security 2014, which came into effect in January this year, the social security agencies could no longer do so.

Accordingly, in the first six months of this year, almost 1,400 cases related to insurance debts of some 300 million VND were taken to court by VSS but had not been resolved.

VSS General Director Nguyen Thi Minh said suing insurance debtors was an effective measure to curb violations and ensure employees’ rights.

The courts had helped insurance agencies collect 16.3 percent of insurance debts from enterprises, she said.-VNA