Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Vietnam

JILAF, together with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), held a two-day industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Hanoi, Vietnam, on December 7–8. A total of 71 people (of whom 29 were women and 14 were senior officials at trade unions in Japanese companies) participated in the seminar, including senior officials of VGCL regional branches, senior officials of enterprise-based trade unions, and representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). As the efforts and experiences of Japan, JILAF gave lectures on “Labour-Related Legislation and the Involvement of Trade Unions” and “Japan’s Social Security System and Wage Hike Mechanism (Spring Labour Offensive, Etc.),” which have contributed to the prevention of unnecessary industrial disputes through the building of constructive industrial relations and to employment stability in Japanese companies.
From JILAF, first of all Field Project Group Leader Hitoshi Suzuki gave a talk on “Labour-Related Legislation and the Involvement of Trade Unions,” in which he shared information about (1) trade unions and policy demands, (2) legislation and trade unions, (3) policy proposals, and (4) the approach of trade unions toward legislation in Japan. In response, the participants asked questions about such issues as (1) the state of collaboration in Japan between regional branches of RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and industrial federations of trade unions, (2) the relationship between RENGO and the ruling and opposition political parties, and (3) whether senior officials are sent from RENGO to enterprise-based unions. JILAF gave pertinent replies to these questions.
In addition, JILAF Assistant Secretary General Bunzo Katsuo gave a talk on “Japan’s Social Security System and Wage Hike Mechanism (Spring Labour Offensive, Etc.),” in which he explained about (1) the “spring struggle for the betterment of livelihood” in Japan, (2) labour agreements, (3) the minimum wage system, and (4) the collective industrial dispute resolution system. In response, the participants asked questions about such issues as (1) the role of industrial trade union federations at the time of wage hike negotiations, (2) the relationship between consumption tax hikes and wage hikes, and (3) the role of RENGO when Japanese companies branch out overseas. Again, JILAF gave pertinent replies to these questions.
On the Vietnamese side, a representative from MOLISA gave a lecture on the theme of “Industrial Relations in Vietnam in an Era of Globalization,” in which it was explained, from the government’s perspective, how globalization (participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] agreement, launch of the ASEAN Economic Community, etc.) would impact industrial relations in Vietnam. In addition, a representative from the VCCI delivered a lecture titled “Industrial Relations in Foreign Enterprises,” in which the speaker outlined the state of entry of foreign enterprises into Vietnam and industrial relations in foreign enterprises, including Japanese companies. The VGCL also gave a talk titled “New Approaches to Organization and the Formation of Enterprise-Based Trade Unions,” in which the bottom-up approach was explained. Furthermore, as examples of trade unions in Japanese companies, senior officials of trade unions in Vinh Phuc Province and Hanoi gave reports on activities toward the building of constructive industrial relations.
Finally, in light of the lectures and case studies, the participants compiled and shared action plans, which included (1) the conclusion of high-quality labour agreements, (2) the promotion of organization in private-sector companies and foreign enterprises, (3) the promotion of social dialogue, (4) efforts toward compliance with labour legislation, (5) the development of a labour movement in response to globalization, and (6) the participation of trade unions in the drafting of policies. The two-day seminar ended after JILAF and the VGCL had made pertinent comments about these action plans.
At present Vietnam is in the process of coordinating various related systems toward ratification of the TPP agreement. The field of labour is no exception, and the Vietnamese government is facing the need to respond to such issues as freedom of association (the right of workers to organize in trade unions of their choice) and the legalization of trade unions (except in government-run organizations). The VGCL hopes to overcome these issues by striking a balance between expanding and strengthening organization and improving the rights of workers on the one hand and encouraging further investment and economic growth on the other.


12/07MonSeminar day 1
12/08TueSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Opening address

Lecture by JILAF

Lively Q&A session