Improving labour law: First achievement in integration process hinh anh 1The employment chapter in the CPTPP is the highest commitment in current global free trade agreements. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
In 2019 alone, Vietnam ratified three more conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) relating to collective bargaining, promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and employment services.

Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, ILO Director for Partnerships, said Vietnam’s ratification of these conventions is a significant achievement as it creates a foundation for the Southeast Asian country to push ahead with socio-economic development.

So far, Vietnam has ratified 24 conventions of the International Labour Organisation pertaining to international labour standards, she said, adding that the adoption of the three most recent conventions is an important milestone.

Meanwhile, ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee praised Vietnam’s move to bring its legal framework closer to international standards by the adoption of the revised Labour Code in November 2019.

“The final adopted text, without questions, represents significant steps towards alignment to all the four internationally-recognised fundamental principles. However gaps and room for improvement remain, as is the case in many countries,” said Lee.

He pointed out the gaps in fully realising principles of non-discrimination and gender equality at work, while the right to freedom of association, limited in this Labour Code to workers in enterprises, will have to be expanded upon in coming years, in tandem with Government efforts for the ratification of Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise in 2023.

“I am convinced that Vietnam will successfully complete this mission for its own future – a future built on higher productivity, better working conditions, the fair sharing of economic gains, equality, the recognition of the voices of workers and employers, and political and social stability.”

Nguyen Manh Cuong, General Director of the Department of International Cooperation under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said though Vietnam has not adopted Convention No. 87 yet, the recently revised Labour Code has stipulated the freedom to set up labour representative organisations.

Regarding Vietnam’s employment commitments under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Cuong said Vietnam still has from 3 – 5 years to meet labour requirements. 

The employment chapter in the CPTPP is the highest commitment in current global free trade agreements, he noted.

The CPTPP, together with the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), includes specific requirements on labour rights and work conditions to ensure that the free flow of trade will contribute to sustainable development and enable workers and businesses to enjoy their fair share of economic gains, according to the ILO.

The CPTPP’s labour chapter also includes obligations to protect and promote internationally recognised labour principles and rights; commitments to protect and promote labour rights as established in the International Labour Organisation’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protection for the fundamental principles and rights at work such as the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the elimination of child labour, forced labour or compulsory labour, and the discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

The CPTPP was signed in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It is expected to create one of the world’s largest free trade blocs with a market of about 500 million people and a gross domestic growth (GDP) of 10.1 trillion USD, accounting for 13.5 percent of global GDP. 

In addition to trade and investment opportunities, the participation in the CPTPP will offer a chance for Vietnam to modernise its labour laws and industrial relations system, thus creating sustainable jobs and bringing practical benefits to workers, according to insiders./.