Joining Convention 98: wages to follow bargaining principles hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining is one of the eight ILO core conventions under the ILO's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work which covers freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; the effective abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Vietnam’s ratification of the convention will be a stride in renovating and building  modern working environment, meeting the demand for wider and deeper international integration.

Principles of building modern labour relations

In the context that Vietnam is strengthening economic-international integration, implementing national industrialization and modernization, the accession to ILO Convention 98 is considered necessary and meaningful in both political, legal and socio-economic aspects.

Accession to Convention No. 98 is aimed at meeting labor requirements when Vietnam joins the next generation of free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (effective as of January 14, 2019), and the going-to-sign Vietnam-European Union Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

According to experts, increasing the coverage of collective bargaining and collective bargaining agreement is a key means of reducing inequality and expanding the scope of labor protection.

Dr. Chang-Hee Lee, Director of ILO Vietnam Office, said that through effective collective bargaining, workers can benefit more equitably from economic growth and productivity. This is important, because it is the increase of inequality that causes political instability in many countries.

In order for collective bargaining to be effective, trade unions need to show the true role of workers' representation. Consequently, Convention 98 states that workers should be adequately protected against labor-related discrimination in labor. The Convention also requires employers' and workers' organizations to be adequately protected from interference by the other party in the process of establishing, operating or managing its activities.

Revising regulations on collective bargaining agreement

Presenting the Government's explanatory report on the accession to Convention 98 during the verification meeting of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said that Convention 98 relates to the provisions of the 2012 Labor Code, the 2012 Trade Union Law, the 2015 Civil Procedure Code, and the 2015 Penal Code (amended and supplemented in 2017).

Joining Convention 98: wages to follow bargaining principles hinh anh 2Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

According to Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, the provisions of Vietnamese law are compatible with the provisions of Convention 98. However, to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Convention in practice after accession, Vietnam will need to internalize the provisions of the Convention, in which collective bargaining on a voluntary basis should be supplemented.

As such, the Labor Code should amend its provision that collective bargaining is done once a year; amend the provisions on the content of collective bargaining, ensuring a unified understanding; amend regulations on the obvious representative role of the upper-level trade union of the grassroots trade union in representing workers in localities where there is no grassroots trade union to conduct collective bargaining (rejecting Clause 3 of Article 188 of 2012 Labor Code) .

In order to join Convention 98, the Labor Code will need to amend and supplement regulations to ensure collective bargaining not only conducted at the enterprise and sector level, but can be done at any level, such as division, regional level, enterprise group level, etc. Besides, there is no mandatory arbitration procedure for all collective labor disputes on benefits derived from collective bargaining.

In particular, the accession to and implementation of Convention 98 is also a specific solution to implement the policy of Resolution No. 27-NQ / TW on May 21, 2018 of the 12th Party Central Committee on reforming salary policy for officials, public servants, armed forces and employees in enterprises./.

As scheduled, the National Assembly will listen to a presentation from the State President, the Government’s explanatory report on the joining of ILO Convention 98 and discuss in groups on May 29. The NA will discuss in hall on June 7 and vote to pass a resolution on the ratification of joining Convention 98 on June 14.