The Better Work programme aiming to boost productivity and competitiveness of the apparel industry will be extended to the northern region after a quarter of southern enterprises have benefited from it, the Saigon Times Daily reported.

Deputy Labor Minister Pham Minh Huan told the launch ceremony of Better Work Vietnam office in Hanoi on March 19 that as the country is pushing for international integration, made-in-Vietnam products must meet the requirements of customers in giant markets such as the US, EU, and Canada among others.

Accordingly, the programme will provide textile and garment firms with three integrated service packages to make their working environment more suitable to demands of importers.

These include assessing and setting up database on factory conditions, giving information and advice on improvement and technology, and offering guidelines and training on essential affairs.

In the next five years, the programme is also expected to extend its assistance to footwear and leather industry due to fast growing demands from foreign companies and clients.

The Better Work initiative has approached nearly 300,000 workers in 200 plants, mainly in the southern region, equivalent to a quarter of the total number of factories in Vietnam since it first came up in 2009. Additionally, more than 50 international clients have registered for this programme.

Chief of International Labor Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam Gyorgy Sziraczki noted the programme can help Vietnam win more orders in the textile and garment industry from importing countries.

Vietnam can make a difference in international markets because of its low labour costs, respect for workers’ voice, improvement in the work environment and productivity enhancement, he added.

Assessments of Better Work Vietnam indicate the stable growth in participating plants. There were three out of five have increased their workforces while as much as 65% of them have raised their sales and 75% earned more orders.-VNA