Foreigners have been given the right to join the Vietnamese labour union.
The National Assembly has just adopted the revised Law on Labour Union, under which Article 5 stipulates that foreigners with work permits and labour contracts valid for at least six months could join the Vietnamese labour union.
Many of the 80,000 foreigners working in Vietnam wanted to join the Vietnamese labour union to “have their legal interests protected” under Vietnam’s law during their work time in the country.
Specifically they would have all rights stipulated in the law about enjoying assistance in difficulties and entertainment activities hold by the union and discussing the union’s affairs, said the deputies.
Notably, this new regulation also makes Vietnam’s labour union law more suitable to the country’s international commitments, particularly with Vietnam about to ink more free trade agreements.
“If foreigners voluntarily acknowledge the Vietnamese labour union regulations, they should be admitted to the union,” said deputy Tran Ngoc Vinh from Hai Phong city.
Deputy Luu Thi Huyen from Ninh Binh province said some conflict in the labour relations between Vietnamese and foreign workers would improve if foreigners joined the union.
She said the new regulation would enable foreigners working in Vietnam to have better understanding about Vietnam’s labour and socio-economic policies, and in turn authorities would be able to better discern such peoples’ need.
However, deputy Nguyen Ngoc Phuong from Quang Binh province said Vietnam’s labour union was a political-social organisation exclusively aimed to protect Vietnamese workers’ interests.
“For foreign invested enterprises (FIEs), if foreigners participate in the Vietnamese labour union, they will likely control the union in their enterprises in a way profitable for them.”
But Quach Thi Nhung, head of human resources at South Korean-invested garment maker KJ Vina company in Binh Duong province, said the new regulation was “meaningless” to many foreign people working in Vietnam.
“Most foreign workers are from FIEs and they are protected by their foreign bosses. Thus, whether they are allowed to join the union is unimportant,” Nhung said.
Dao Mai Lan, head of Ericsson Vietnam’s Communications Division, also said the new regulation was unnecessary.
“Unlike Vietnamese people, foreigners often show their ideas to their bosses immediately when they face a problem and their questions can be quickly answered. They also have their own interests protected by their parent companies overseas. Thus, the participation in the union is not so important to them,” Lan said.