Enterprise owners are now required to hold regular dialogues with their employees at least once every three months and organise an annual workers meeting to hear their opinions and discuss issues.

The regulation was stated in the new decree on the enforcement of industrial democracy, which would come into effect on August 15, said Dang Duc San, director of the Legal Department under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

"One major reason leading to disputes between employers and employees is that there is no mechanism requiring regular talks," San said. "If the new law is well implemented, this might change."

Decree 60 is expected to help promote stable, harmonious industrial relations by protecting and ensuring the rights of both employers and employees.

Its strength is the requirement to hold dialogues in different forms with specific rules on how they should be implemented, he said.

Nguyen Van Binh, national project co-ordinator from the International Labour Organisation's office in Hanoi, said the existing dialogue mechanism to promote industrial relations is practically ineffective because talks were not made compulsory, not regularly conducted and lacked the active involvement of workers.

Before the new Labour Code, enterprises were only required to hold dialogues to discuss specific issues such as overtime work, punishment over work regulations or the payroll.

The new law now also requires the organisation of regular dialogues on topics related to the basic rights of employees such as the right to be offered information, the right to voice their own opinions, and the right to watch and inspect a company's operations, he said.

San added that one notable point was the Ministry has had the new Labour Code translated into an official English version so that it could be well understood by FDI enterprises.

He said decrees giving specific instructions on the implementation of certain provisions within the Labour Code would also be translated to ensure all enterprises could access the laws easily without having to use unofficial translations for reference.

"We are planning to organise a very big training course within the fourth quarter of the year, which will involve representatives of all relevant parties in the north and the south. Participants will be briefed on the contents of the Labour Code and its instructive Decrees," San said.-VNA