International labour standards

ILO welcomes Viet Nam's vote to ratify ILO fundamental convention on collective bargaining

All of the deputies present at the National Assembly session on 14 June voted yes to the ratification of ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

News | 14 June 2019
HANOI (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has congratulated Viet Nam on its important decision to ratify one of the organization’s fundamental conventions to promote collective bargaining.

On 14 June, all of the 452 National Assembly deputies present at the session voted yes to the Government’ dossier for ratification of ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

Convention 98 is one of the eight ILO core conventions under the ILO's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which covers: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; the effective abolition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. All ILO member states should respect and apply the principles under the 1998 Declaration.

“We congratulate Viet Nam on ratifying Convention 98. Not only is this a fundamental right, but also an enabling right that facilitates the achievement of many other labour protections”, said the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, Deborah Greenfield.

Adopted in 1949, Convention 98 has three major components to ensure that collective bargaining between workers and employers can take place in an effective manner. They include protection of workers and trade union officers against employers’ acts of discrimination at work, guarantees for workers’ and employers’ organizations to be free from interference or dominance from each other, and requirement of institutional and legal measures provided by the State to promote collective bargaining.

One significant change Viet Nam will need to make to be in line with this convention is to move away from the current prevalent situation where grassroots trade unions are dominated by management. “In many factories, it is not hard to find a senior manager or human resources manager acting also as the trade union chair,” said ILO Viet Nam Director, Chang-Hee Lee. “Making unions independent from dominance or interference of the management is a key to building harmonious, stable and progressive industrial relations for sustainable development.”

He went on to say Vietnamese workers, trade unions and employers have already proven their will and capacity for genuine collective bargaining, as shown in the recent breakthrough development of multi-employers’ collective bargaining in electronics industry in Hai Phong, tourism industry in Da Nang, and furniture industry in Binh Duong.

“The ratification of Convention 98 will accelerate the spread of genuine collective bargaining for win-win solutions at Vietnamese workplaces, which is likely to result in better working conditions, higher productivity and shared prosperity, contributing to sustainable development,” he added.

The ILO’s eight core conventions, including Convention 98, under the fundamental principles and rights at work, have become a central part of the new generation of free trade agreements, including the CPPTPP (The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the FTA between the EU and Viet Nam, as well as most of corporate socially responsible policies of multi-national enterprises.

Convention 98 is the sixth fundamental conventions Viet Nam has ratified. They also include Convention 29 on forced labour, Conventions 100 and 111 on non-discrimination, and Conventions 138 and 182 on child labour.

For the remaining two conventions, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said Viet Nam will also work on the preparation to ratify Convention 105 on forced labour by 2020 and Convention 87 on freedom of association by 2023.

* This story is a product of the European Union-funded project on Promoting the application of ILO Fundamental Conventions under the framework of EU – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.