Enhancing the representative role of trade unions and collective negotiations are high on the agenda of a two-day seminar in Hanoi.

Addressing the seminar that opened on May 17, Vice President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour Mai Duc Chinh pointed out challenges to Vietnam ’s trade unions in developing trade union memberships and establishing grass-root trade unions.

The proportion of negotiations and signing of collective labour contracts in non-state and FDI businesses remains small, due to the lack of concrete regulations on the order of collective negotiations and the role of trade unions and labour agencies to assist in the process, he said.

Director of the Bangkok-based ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Sachiko Yamamoto and Director of the ILO Country Office for Vietnam Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard and other experts shared the view that the country’s international integration is bringing both advantages and challenges to Vietnam ’s trade unions and workers.

Promoting the capacity and role of trade unions will help protect and increase workers’ rights and benefits and play an active role in devising policies, they said.

The VGCL targets that by 2013, more than 70 percent of grass-root trade unions will organise negotiation and signing of collective labour contracts, more than 60 percent of workers at non-State businesses will join trade unions and 70 percent of businesses will qualify to set up grass-root trade unions./.