Vietnam and its partners recently concluded the negotiations on the EU-Vietnam FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
The deals refer to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) which commits the ILO member countries to respect and comply with eight core conventions covering the key areas of freedom of association, the right to organise and collective bargaining, and elimination of forced labour, child labour and workplace discrimination.
“The ILO is ready to provide full support, once requested by the ILO’s tripartite constituents, to the Government and representative organisations of workers and employers in bringing Vietnam’s laws, institutions and practices to closer compliance with the relevant ILO standards, which will promote growth, equity and harmony in Vietnam ”, ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee said.
Under the labour chapters of the TPP and EU-Vietnam FTA, the country is obliged to reform both its legal system and its institutions and practices to ensure the realisation of the fundamental principles and rights at work, if it is to reap full benefits of the favourable conditions offered under the FTAs.
“An industrial relations system based on freedom of association and the recognition of the right to collective bargaining is a common feature of modern market economies,” the head of ILO Vietnam said.
“International experiences show that it contributes to more equitable growth and to industrial harmony, as it helps to provide a better balance of power between workers and employers and give voice to workers in determining wages and working conditions through dialogue”, he added.
He continued to say that the commitment expressed by the Vietnamese Government regarding the ILO standards on freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining shows that Vietnam is ready to comply fully with the universal principles upheld by ILO member states.
“The ILO is ready to provide its full support, not only for a legislative reform but also for strengthening the capacity of the Government, workers and employer’s organisations, and for improving institutions and practices so that Vietnam can fully enjoy the benefits of the FTAs. More importantly, this will help to lay a foundation for equitable growth based on social justice,” he noted.
Vietnam became a member of the ILO in 1992 and has ratified 21 ILO conventions, including five out of eight core ones.
The EU and Vietnam reached an agreement in principle for an FTA in August 2015 whereas the negotiations among 12 Pacific Rim countries for the TPP concluded last October.