Truong Tan Sang, Politburo member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, has emphasised housing, especially for low-income earners, as a hot issue that unionists should take care of in the coming years.

Sang, who is also permanent member of the Party Secretariat, raised the issue at a meeting of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) in Ho Chi Minh City on January 5.

He also urged trade unions at all levels to protect workers’ stable employments, reasonable incomes and social and medical insurances as well as negotiate with employers on building more day-care centres and entertainment facilities for workers.

“Efforts should be made to strengthen personnel training and expand the trade union networks at all levels as well as renovate performances in order to better protect working people’s rights,” said the senior Party official.

He explained that once workers’ rights, including accesses to vocational training and higher education, are well protected, relations between employers and employees in all economic sectors would improve.

In reply, VGCL President Dang Ngoc Tung said his agency has drafted two resolutions on improving grassroots trade union performances and facilitating women’s involvement in the national industrialisation and modernisation cause in the interest of women’s advancement.

Trade unions worked hard in 2010 to help ensure stable incomes for workers, especially in the private economic sector, where over 85,000 new businesses employed some 1.6 million workers.

However, problems such as enterprises’ delay in paying social insurances for their staffs and labour disputes leading to major strikes are on the rise, calling for trade unions to further expand and improve their operations in an effort to better protect workers’ rights, concluded the VGCL executive committee./.