U.S. Partners with Vietnam to Promote Better Labor Relations
HANOI, April 26, 2012 – More than 4,000 union members, labor officials and business representatives have learned about best and comparative practices in labor law education, legal aid services, negotiations and mediation under a U.S.-supported project with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).
“This USAID project has assisted Vietnam at a time when there is interest in both countries to work in partnership on labor issues,” said Francis Donovan, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam. “By sharing best practices, this project has informed Vietnam decision-makers on labor issues as they look to meet international labor standards and build a stable and responsive labor relations system.”
The USAID Industrial Relations Promotion Project, which started in October 2009 and ends this month, has helped equip labor officials, union leaders and human resource managers with the skills and training in labor relations relevant to Vietnam’s transition towards a market economy.
Training on effective collective bargaining and how it can help prevent labor disputes has been a major effort under the project. The project helped in the development of a new model of collective bargaining to help prevent strikes – the multi-employer agreement. Such an agreement promotes better communications between unions, workers, and employers in workplaces and helps ensure that all workers in an area receive the same benefits and wage packages.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sectoral business associations have endorsed this approach and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor has pledged to replicate this model in different industrial zones and areas around Vietnam. With assistance provided from the project, three universities offering industrial relations education programs -- the University of Labor and Social Affairs, the Vietnam Trade Union University, and Ton Duc Thang University -- have designed new courses and educational materials, explored new teaching and research methodologies, and formed a labor educators’ network. Through this project, these three partner universities have entered into relationships with leading U.S. labor education centers, some of which are in the process of offering scholarships, creating joint certificate programs or are preparing to send scholars and instructors.
In this partnership with MOLISA, USAID assisted Government of Vietnam efforts to pioneer new approaches to finding effective ways of resolving disputes and creating channels of workplace communications between workers and management. Private labor arbitration, proposed for the first time in Vietnam, is based on the work of the project which also has brought together local union and business leaders to learn the value and techniques of negotiating in the workplace.