A workshop on wage policy in the context of a market economy and economic integration was held in Hanoi on November 25 with the aim of providing an overview on regional and international wage policies and fine-tuning those in Vietnam.

About 400,000 businesses are operating in Vietnam with more than 10 million employees. Up to 95 percent of the companies are of small and medium sizes with low labour productivity and workers’ limited wage bargaining capacity, the workshop heard.

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said Vietnam has been working to adapt its wage policy to the market economy mechanism and international economic integration, which has resulted in employers and employees’ legitimate rights and interests better ensured and workers’ living standards improved.

However, the country is also facing an array of problems in its competitiveness, workforce quality, and labour productivity, she noted.

During the November 19 National Assembly question-and-answer session, the official admitted that current salary increases did not ensure workers’ wellbeing, elaborating that salary levels met a mere 60 percent of the minimum living standards.

In the ASEAN region, Vietnam’s minimum wage is only higher than that of Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar while its average monthly wage stands at 3.8 million VND (181 USD), much lower than the Philippines (206 USD), Thailand (357 USD), Malaysia (609 USD), and Singapore (3,547 USD), according to the report “ASEAN Community 2015: Managing integration for better jobs and shared prosperity” conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank.

A wide wage gap among ASEAN member nations reflects their considerable difference in various fields, including labour productivity, ILO said.
Participants at the two-day workshop underscored the need to revise wage policy in order to balance businesses’ development, helping employees enjoy benefits from such growth.

Wages should be specified on the basis of scientific evidence, the need of labourers and their families, as well as the demand of businesses and the overall labour market, they added.

Participants will focus their discussions on minimum salary and impacts of minimum salary adjustment on businesses on November 26.-VNA