Union seeks to prevent violence in labour disputes

Following on the heels of hundreds of labour strikes last year, especially during the recent Tet holiday, the HCM City Labour Union is trying to figure out how to prevent labour disputes from breaking out, sometimes resulting in violence.

In 2007, the city ranked third in the number of labour disputes with 104 cases, after Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces. In previous years, the city had ranked first.

Mai Duc Chinh, deputy chair of the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour Union (VGCL), said the city had the highest number of labour accidents last year, leaving 117 workers dead.

Despite those numbers, the citys Labour Protection Council had not created a labour protection programme. This problem must be addressed, Chinh said.

VGCL officials were speaking with representatives of the HCM City Labour Unions Standing Committee at a meeting held on Monday about the unions priorities for the year.

To restrict labour disputes, the Labour Union should guide union workers to actively participate in making a sliding salary scale tables for employees, Chinh said.

The union should improve the professional skills of union staff, particularly in solving disputes and in discussing collective agreements that would benefit employees, said Dang Ngoc Tung, chair of VGCL.

The union should also urge the HCM City Peoples Committee to allocate land to build entertainment centres for employees in industrial parks and export processing zones, Tung said.

He called on union officials to boost construction on labour cultural houses, particularly in districts where the city had allocated land for them, such as in District 2 and Thu Duc.

Tung urged the union to implement VGCLs programme of providing housing for disadvantaged employees this year as well as to establish a fund to support labour union workers.

Chinh said improvements in the services provided by labour unions resulted had in less labour disputes last year.