Vietnam is facing many challenges in implementing a roadmap on raising minimum wage to cover basic needs of labourers by 2017, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) Pham Minh Huan.

Many enterprises have proposed postponing the target date to 2020 due to economic difficulties, the deputy minister said at a conference jointly held by MOLISA and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Hanoi on November 26.

Sandra Polaski, ILO Deputy Director-General, reiterated the significance of minimum wage to productivity. She cited a recent research showing that along with raising wage for their employees, employers will try to invest more in technology to improve productivity.

Wage is an important index reflecting fairness in society, she said, adding that the ILO wage report for 2014-15 will announce new findings of a study on the relations between the sharing of wage and general income inequality.

At the same time, Dang Quang Dieu, head of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour’s Policy and Law Department, said only when minimum wage is sufficient for basic living conditions, could labour productivity be enhanced.

He noted that the current minimum wage, the basis for enterprises to calculate wage for workers, fails to cover minimum living costs, while the wage gap among different sectors tends to increase.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Manh Cuong, Director of the MOLISA’s Centre for Labour Relations Development Support, said as Vietnam joins the ASEAN Economic Community and international trade deals, competition in labour market in the community will increase, thus raising wage and salary for improving competitiveness will be inevitable.

Many participants at the conference suggested the building of a stable roadmap for wage increase, while strengthening social welfare to harmonise the rights and interests for both enterprises and labourers.-VNA