October 22, 2017

RLS-funded workshop on “Vietnam & the implementation of FTAs: Workers’ roles & rights”

In the next ten years, Vietnam is foreseen to participate in 15 FTAs, having trade partnership with 57 countries – including five permanent members of United Nations Security Councils and all G20 members.  Statistically, it accounts for nearly 90% of the world GDP and 84% of the world’s trade volume. New-generation FTAs (like TPP) also covers non-trade related requirements, ranging from high environmental standards to labor rights in line with international conventions. FTA member countries are requested to strictly respect, promoting and comply with basic labor rights, especially the right to participate in independent unions and the right of collective bargaining. It posts both opportunities and challenges for Vietnam’s legal and institutional system. It is the rationale for the cooperation project between RLS SEA and PACCOM, which aims to provide an exchange platform for stakeholders. During the workshop, speakers – from the intellectual community, NGO practitioners, and Trade union – provided a full picture of Vietnam’s situation, tendencies related to FTAs and labor situation. They pointed out that new-generation FTAs with non-trade requirements (labor rights, right to association…) are irreversible. To integrate deeper into the world economy, Vietnam has no choice but complying with these requirements. However, data from speakers showed that the current trade union system is not effective in supporting workers to solve labor dispute with employers. It was recommended that relevant laws shall be revised or adopted to ensure basic labor rights like freedom of association, collective bargaining…

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