The result of the National Assembly’s vote on the resolution ratifying Vietnam’s participation in Convention No. 98 (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has sent congratulations to Vietnam on the ratification of Convention No. 98, one of the ILO’s core conventions that aims to promote collective bargaining.

All the 452 deputies present at the National Assembly’s debate on June 14 voted in favour of the Government’s dossier seeking the ratification of the ILO’s Convention No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

Eradicating businesses’ dominance

Convention No. 98 is one of the eight ILO core conventions under the organisation’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 labour, the effective abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

All member states of the ILO are obliged to respect and apply the principles codified in the 1998 Declaration.

ILO Deputy Director General for Policy Deborah Greenfield offered congratulations to Vietnam on the ratification, affirming that: “Not only is this a fundamental right, but also an enabling right that facilitates the achievement of many other labour protections.”

Adopted in 1949, Convention No. 98 has three major components to ensure that collective bargaining between workers and employers can take place in an effective manner. They include protection of workers and trade union officers against employers’ acts of discrimination at work, guarantees for workers’ and employers’ organisations to be free from interference or dominance from each other, and requirement of institutional and legal measures provided by the State to promote collective bargaining.

One significant change Vietnam will need to make to be in line with this convention is to move away from the current prevalent situation where grassroots trade unions are dominated by management.

Trade union cadres give legal advice to workers (Illustrative photo: VNA)

ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee said: “In many factories, it is not hard to find a senior manager or human resources manager acting also as the trade union chair. Making unions independent from dominance or interference of the management is a key to building harmonious, stable and progressive industrial relations for sustainable development.”

Promoting genuine bargaining

The ILO Vietnam Director went on to say Vietnamese workers, trade unions and employers have already proven their will and capacity for genuine collective bargaining, as shown in the recent breakthrough development of multi-employers’ collective bargaining in electronics industry in Hai Phong city, tourism industry in Da Nang city, and furniture industry in Binh Duong province.

“The ratification of Convention No. 98 will accelerate the spread of genuine collective bargaining for win-win solutions at Vietnamese workplaces, which is likely to result in better working conditions, higher productivity and shared prosperity, contributing to sustainable development,” he added.

The ILO’s eight core conventions, including Convention No. 98, under the fundamental principles and rights at work, have become a central part of the new generation of free trade agreements, including the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the free trade agreement between the European Union and Vietnam, as well as most of corporate socially responsible policies of multi-national enterprises.

Convention No. 98 is the sixth fundamental convention Vietnam has ratified. The others include Convention No. 29 on forced labour, Conventions No. 100 and 111 on non-discrimination, and Conventions No. 138 and 182 on child labour.

For the remaining two conventions, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said Vietnam will also work on the preparation to ratify Convention No. 105 on forced labour by 2020 and Convention No. 87 on freedom of association by 2023.-VNA