The current labour regulations were failing to tackle worker disputes, said Pham Minh Huan, deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, at a workshop on April 20 in Hanoi .

Huan said thousands of labour disputes that had arisen since 1995 had been successfully resolved by reconcilement committees. However, he said only official labour unions had reconciliation committees.

He added that since 1995 there had been 3,000 official strikes.

He said the high number of strikes had been the result of individual workers taking their complaints directly to the state authorities, rather than reconciliation committees.

The Labour Law, enacted in 1995, has been amended three times.

According to Pham Cong Bay , deputy chief of the Supreme Court's Department of Labour Court , from 1995 to date most labour disputes had involved individual cases. He said that in 2009 alone there had been 1,764 individual complaints.

He said grievances had often involved wages, social insurance, labour welfare and compensation.

Vietnamese labour laws have been unable to effectively resolve disputes which end up in the courts, he added.

There is a lack of consistency and transparency, he said.

He added that the Government should consider enshrining reconciliation in the law. He also said the Government should reconsider the prohibition that workers cannot be sacked if they were a member of a State union.

Ho Xuan Dung, secretary of the HCM City Labour Arbitration Committee, said that since 2006, arbitrators in the city had resolved 2,570 labour disputes – 76.4 percent of all cases.

However, he said disputes were rarely successfully handled by district arbitrators because strikes were often unlawful.

He said it would be far better if labour disputes were resolved by reconciliation committees.

Meanwhile, Mai Duc Vien, from the ministry's Department of Law, said reconciliation committees had proved successful in the US and that the model should be adopted here. /.