Lunch for workers prepared at Royal Foods Co. Ltd, Nam Cam Industrial Zone, Nghe An province (Photo: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) has helped improve the quality of meals for workers as it makes the issue part of the collective bargaining between employers and employees.

In February 2016, VGCL adopted resolution 07C/NQ-BCH which says during collective bargaining, trade unions in companies or districts must ask employers to improve meals for workers, ensuring that each costs at least 15,000 VND (66 US cents).

Trade unions will also sue directors of companies if workers are seriously affected by food poisoning.

The resolution is aimed to tackle poor quality meals and poor quality food and processing conditions that lead to food poisoning.

Lao dong (Labour) newspaper early this week reported that about 27,000 companies nationwide provided meals for workers, accounting for nearly 60 percent of companies with established trade unions.

In about 19,500 companies, workers are provided meals worth at least 15,000 each VND.

Last year, nearly 1,200 collective bargaining deals were made that helped increase funding for workers’ meals.

Nguyen Ngoc Mai, a worker at Long Bien Investment Joint Stock Company in Hanoi, said that the meals it provided its workers costs 30,000 VND and included rice, meat, soup, fruit - and yogurt or cake for desert.

“The dishes are frequently changed. The meals make me full. They are delicious,” Mai said, adding that meals were part of the collective agreement between employer and employees.

Last year, Toyota Ltd Company in Nomurra Industrial Zone in Hai Phong increased funding for meals to 20,000 VND from 18,000 VND.

The company established a group consisting of representatives from trade unions, employees and the management board to oversee food and cooking conditions on a daily basis.

According to the Trade Union Organisation in Hai Phong Economic Zone, companies are providing meals for workers at an average cost of 22.400 VND per meal. Better meals are seen at companies in Dinh Vu Industrial Zone produced for an average of 26.200 VND per meal and Cau Kien Industrial Zone 25.200 VND per meal. However, meals for workers in Do Son Industrial Zone are only 17.400 VND each.

Instead of providing meals, about 10 percent of the companies in Hai Phong give workers a meal allowance.

Le Thi Hai Au, Trade Union President of March 29 Garment Joint Stocks Company in the central city of Da Nang said that for years the company provided meals that cost at least 15,000 VND.

“It is difficult for cheap meals to meet regulations on food safety and hygiene. Unqualified meals can cause negative impacts on both workers and company,” she said, emphasising that caring about workers’ meals was necessary and should be given priority.

Kieu Ngoc Hoa, Trade Union President of Samsung Electronics HCMCEC Complex, said the company collected workers’ opinions on meals and had established a Work Safety Board to examine the origin and quality of food provided for workers. Another board examined kitchens and food processing.

“The allowance for workers’ meals at the company is increased every two years,” Hoa said.

This year, each meal cost 28,000 VND, Hoa said, adding that good meals not only made workers healthy, but helped them work effectively and happily so they wanted to stay at the company.-VNA