|A worker at Tinh Loi Textile Company in Nam Sach Industrial Zone in the northern province of Hai Duong
“There are many reasons for this, including workers on trade unions’ executive boards who lack deep understanding about payroll and other salary matters,” Ha explained.
Nearly 90 percent of strikes are caused by salary disputes, with 80 percent of them arising from employers' violations of legal regulations and collective labour agreements about salaries and bonuses, she said.
To ensure the best employee benefits, the role of trade unions should be enhanced to strengthen dialogue and negotiations about salaries, she added.
Beginning in 2021, the Government will not directly intervene in the payrolls of enterprises, and employers and trade unions will negotiate the salaries.
Vu Minh Tien, head of the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions, said the task of trade unions was difficult but necessary to ensure employee benefits.
At a forum on the garment and electronics sector in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces held on July 10, members of trade union executive boards said they could not negotiate salaries because the salaries were higher than the minimum monthly wages regulated by the government.
The salaries are also higher than the average wages at many other companies, and it is easier to negotiate allowances than to raise wages, they said.
Many of the unions' executive board members, who acknowledged they lacked negotiation skills, said they needed to know more about legal regulations and employers’ production situations.
Nguyen Vinh Quang, head of the labour relations department at the Vietnam General Federation of Labour, said the payroll should ensure benefits for employers and employees.
The fields of garments and electronics have the highest number of labour problems, Ha said, adding that collecting opinions is the first step in creating strategies and plans to train members of trade union executive boards in negotiation skills.
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour will pilot the training of trade union executive board members in eight provinces and cities within the next two years.
During a talk on increasing the basic wage for labourers in Hanoi on July 10, deputy director of the Department of Labor Relations Le Dinh Quang from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) said the VGCL stands by its earlier proposal to increase wages by between 7 and 8 percent starting in 2020 to meet the basic demands of workers.
The increase of 5.3 percent proposed by the National Wage Council would not be enough to meet workers' needs, Quang said.
According to a recent survey conducted by Institute of Workers and Trade, the wages of textile labourers are not high enough for them to afford living expenses.
About 65 percent of the workers in the survey have to work extra time regularly. About 53 percent cannot afford the cost of healthcare.
Nguyen Dinh Thang, vice president of the trade union of industrial zones in Hanoi said the city has nine industrial zones but only one has a kindergarten for workers’ children. He said basic wages must increase by more than 9 percent to meet workers’ needs.
Associate Professor Vu Quang Tho, former head of the Institute of Workers and Trade, said most of the workers in the textile sector want firms to pay them a living wage without having to work overtime.