Law on Trade Unions should be amended to meet requirements of new era

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Ngọ Duy Hiểu, vice chairman of Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) speaks at the meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Social Affairs on Tuesday on the revised Law on Trade Unions. Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Law on Trade Unions should be revised to overcome its shortcomings and ensure consistency with the country’s legal framework as well as meet the requirements of international integration, said Ngọ Duy Hiểu, vice chairman of the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL).

He made the remarks at the 18th plenary meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Social Affairs which discussed the draft law amending and supplementing a number of articles in the Law on Trade Unions held on Tuesday in Hà Nội.

Hiểu said the law was an important legal basis for the organisation and activities of trade unions in the country’s industrialisation, modernisation and deepening international integration, contributing to maintaining political stability over the years. However, after more than seven years of implementation of the law, shortcomings had affected its efficiency, he said.

There were still overlaps in authorisation among trade unions and local authorities.

Hiếu also cited a lack of regulations to ensure the transparency of trade union finance as well as a mechanism guarantee that trade union rights be exercised and trade union officials are protected.

“In some places, the trade unions have not yet fulfilled their role as authorised representatives to protect the legitimate rights and interest of the workers,” he said.

International economic integration was an inevitable trend that had become one of the important driving forces for the country’s socio-economic development, creating more jobs and improving people's knowledge and lives, he said.

Thus, he said, it was necessary to continue amending the Law on Trade Unions to ensure its compatibility with international labour standards, commitments of Việt Nam in the new generation free trade agreements as well as in accordance with its socio-economic conditions.

There was a division among NA deputies regarding contributions to the trade union fund.

The majority of deputies supported retaining the current regulation that trade union funds paid by agencies, organisations and enterprises were equivalent to 2 per cent of salary funds for workers. The salary serves as the basis to pay premiums to workers’ social insurance.

Some deputies opposed it. They proposed adjusting the contribution to the fund in a way that reduces the burden for enterprises but still ensures trade union activities. They attributed it to the fact that surplus funds of the trade union were high.

Bùi Sỹ Lợi, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs, said the committee agreed with the VGCL’s stance on maintaining trade union funds [equivalent to two per cent of workers’ salary funds].

“This is a source of funding that plays a decisive role in ensuring the Việt Nam Trade Union as a socio-political organisation of the working class and of the employees performs its duties of taking care of social welfare for employees,” Lợi said.

Đỗ Văn Bình, a deputy from Hải Phòng City, said he supported the revision of the Law on Trade Unions.

However, he underlined the need to renovate activities of trade unions to attract more labourers.

Deputy Nguyễn Ngọc Phương from Quảng Bình province, agreed, saying the spending of the fund should be made clear.

He also called for enhancing the efficiency of the union’s activities in the future.

“The revised law should not only protect the rights of workers but also ensure the interest of enterprises.”

Attention should be paid to the dissemination of legal knowledge for labourers, Phương said. — VNS

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