Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences

Policy table: The role of trade union in supporting workers to access social services in industrial zones


In 1 July, 2021, the Institute for European Studies organised the Policy Table named: “The Role of Trade Union in Supporting Workers to Access Social Services in Industrial Zones”. This is an event under the implementation of the project: “Empowering Civil Society and Workers” (ECOW), co-financed by the European Union (EU).

The policy table was participated by representative of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, institutions under the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, Department of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs of Da Nang, Federation of Labour of Da Nang and Quang Ngai province, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Centre, research and teaching institutions, and labour related civil society organisations (CSO). Discussions are held in face-to-face and online formats.

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Chien Thang, Director of the Institute of European Studies and Dr. Pham Thi Thu Lan, Deputy Director of the Institute of Workers and Trade Union co-chaired the seminar

Results of the field research conducted by ECOW project on more than 3000 workers in the garment and electronics sector in three regions (North, Centre, South) indicate that majority of workers in industrial parks are migrants, who come from different provinces in Vietnam. Thus, they have been facing many difficulties, especially those who have married and had small children. Due to the high living cost and shift work, a large number of workers have to leave their children at home village to live with their husband/wife or with relatives. Hence, workers expect that the trade union provides more supports to workers who have small children so that they can maintain their job and improve their lives. The research result also reveals the high rate of understanding of workers on trade union, i.e. 92.4% of workers know the exist of trade union in their enterprise. The rate of membership is also high, but that in the garment sector is higher than that in the electronics one. Some workers have not become trade union members because they are working under probation contract and under the contract with labour providing services. A large percentage of workers also suppose that they will meet trade union cadres or trade union chairperson when they face problems at work. Furthermore, they expect the trade union to negotiate better working conditions for them.

Mr. Jesús Lavina, Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam spoke at the seminar Dr. Do Ta Khanh, ECOW Project Manager speaking at the seminar

Discussants at the round table session appreciated and confirmed the important role of trade union for workers in industrial parks, particularly in support workers to access social services. In Da Nang, the Federation of Labour has been constructing three blocks of housing for workers, including essential social infrastructure, such as kindergarten. The trade union also actively supports workers in coping with the impacts of Covid-19 and implementing social security policies toward workers. However, due to the limit in the personnel, e.g. many trade union cadres are also managers in the factory, the trade union has not met the expectations from workers. The representative from labour related CSOs suggested that Vietnam trade union should regards CSOs as partners and closely coordinate with each other to mobilize and use the resource effectively to provide the highest support to workers. On the side of employers, the representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Centre supposed that, the State should encourage the socialization of providing social services in industrial parks so that workers can access them easily, in addition to the tight supervision and enhancement of corporate social responsibility…

Views of the seminar

The seminar received many exchanges and frank discussions of the participants around the topics of operation of trade unions and the expectations of workers in industrial zones of Vietnam today.


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