The Goverment will focus on creating new jobs and protecting workers' rights when firms go bankrupt, labour official Nguyen Dai Dong tells Hai Quan Cuoi tuan (Customs Weekend) newspaper.

* Many enterprises are refusing to respect the rights and interests of their employees. What can the ministry do to safeguard worker's rights?

It is important to note that most enterprises in Vietnam are small to medium. The country currently has half a million private enterprises working and operating on a small scale.

Unfortunately, the economic downturn has posed many long-term difficulties for these businesses. This was the catalyst for a spate of bankruptcies that have occurred.

Nonetheless, the establishment of new businesses and projects in big cities has created the demand for a big workforce and created many opportunities and choices for Vietnamese workers.

This has also created a trend of labour mobility where workers have moved from one region to another to search for jobs. Those who are already employed have also been given the option to search for higher paying jobs.

At the moment, the Government has two ways of handling this - Firstly, by encouraging cohesion among economic stakeholders to combat the low enterprise: population ratio and create more jobs; and secondly, by using current laws that protect workers' interests in the event of a firm going bankrupt.

Many labourers losing their jobs are going to unemployment insurance agencies for support. In addition, the country also has a national job support fund with an aim to facilitate production and create jobs through low-interest loans and start-up projects. The fund has achieved remarkable results and can be seen as an effective support mechanism for the unemployed.

The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs has also encouraged companies to recruit unemployed members of society who are interested in getting jobs. The ministry is also supervising and providing measures to support the unemployed in difficult circumstances.

* Many labourers haven't received medical, social and unemployment insurance due to their employers fleeing after bankruptcy. What can the ministry do to support them?

To abate the pandemic of employers running away out of refusal to pay insurance fees for employees, the ministry has asked its provincial departments to closely oversee this issue.

The district Labour Unions have also been asked to work with social insurance units to complete the expedition of social insurance contracts for workers who have lost their jobs. A hotline has also been established to receive worker complaints.

At the same time, the State Budget will be moving towards a system where workers who meet certain requirements can receive an unemployment allowance.

The ministry has also instructed the employment department to improve supervision of the labour market to propose timely measures and support to workers experiencing difficulties.

* Many labourers have been in jobs with no labour contract or insurance. This means they receive no support if they lose their jobs. What will authorities do to handle this problem?

Employers refusing to protect workers' interests is not uncommon in our labour market. The reason for this is the high density of small businesses who were hiring workers with limited skills and legal knowledge to do simple tasks. Many do not know how to protect themselves when they lose their jobs.

The ministry is committed to strengthening the management and supervision of industrial relations and working arrangements to preserve the interests of workers.

Workers need to be equipped with information to help them protect themselves while negotiating contracts with employers. In addition, the trade union's role should be elevated and formalised in regulations to protect union members.

It is a delicate balance. The Government needs to encourage enterprises to expand their operations and production and create jobs. But the rights of workers need to be protected in the process.-VNA