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First multi-employer employment agreement signed

Released at: 13:18, 15/01/2016

First multi-employer employment agreement signed

Four tourism enterprises put pen to paper in a single workplace agreement.

by Tue Lam

Vietnam’s first multi-employer collective agreement was signed on January 14 by four tourism enterprises in central Da Nang city, the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Vietnam has announced. 

The agreement is expected to benefit 700 workers, 60 per cent of whom are women, employed by the Vietnam Vitours Tourism JSC, the Phuong Dong Viet Tourism JSC, the Phu An Thinh Trade and Tourism Co., and Saigontourane Hotel.

According to the Director of the ILO in Vietnam, Mr. Chang-Hee Lee, this is the first time trade unions and employers in the country have successfully negotiated a collective agreement that covers more than one enterprise. “This is a major innovation in labor relations practices,” he said.

The collective agreement covers various important matters, including an increase of 3.3 per cent in the basic wage paid by the four enterprises above the government-designated minimum wage and improvements in mid-shift meals and other allowances.

“A multi-employer collective agreement can reduce staff turnover and promote stable labor relations,” Mr. Lee said. “Workers will have less incentive to leave one employer for another, as similar conditions apply to all.”

He added that it is good for workers as they can enjoy the same working conditions in solidarity with workers across enterprises, and is good for employers as they will have more stable labor relations.

The bargaining process for the agreement took two months, with many rounds of difficult negotiations where workers and employers participated in a bottom-up manner, with support from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) and the ILO.

“This kind of democratic practice of collective bargaining can help Vietnam in successfully implementing its TPP obligations as a member state of the ILO,” Mr. Lee added.

According to Mr. Mai Duc Chinh, Deputy Chairman of the VGCL, it is important for the Confederation to promote the practices and lessons learned from negotiating the agreement, including the need for high-level consultation with the workforce and coordination between unions, as the process resulted in higher wages and other benefits.

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