Towards a more effective Social Dialogue

Towards a more effective Social Dialogue

Dirk Joosse Special Advisor View profile

How to equip social partners for a more effective social dialogue in Vietnam?

After the first two Conferences in 2014 this was the third Consultation Conference (Hanoi 15th of April 2015).  Participants in these Conferences are the most important stakeholders in this project: the Ministry of Social Affairs (MOLISA), trade unions, universities, chamber of commerce VCCI/ VWEC, representatives of sectors and enterprises, trainers and DECP. Main issues on the agenda were  the results of a Marketing Survey and a Marketing Development Plan for the tools and skills DECP introduced to VCCI/ VWEC in the past years (Negotiation, Mediation, OSH, Lobby). DECP has supported many activities for VCCI from 2009 to the present in order to contribute to the improvement of labor relations in the workplace and it is supporting the VWEC trainers team  in that field in order to provide training services for businesses. It is now time for a market for these trainings to develop!

Through the survey it was shown that the market demand for these skills is there, but businesses and employers by themselves were not aware of its importance for the development of businesses. In a reaction to the presentation of the survey the Representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Vietnam Ms. Huyen Le, Head of the labor relations department, Institute of Labor Science, MOLISA stated “that the 4 skills trained by DECP - VCCI are essential for the  labor relations in the enterprises. Within the enterprises the knowledge of labor relations is limited at present, lacking the skills to develop constructive labor relations. If the enterprises would be equipped with these skills that would contribute to reducing labor disputes and strikes. There is a shift from disputes within companies about the exact interpretation of the law towards interest based conflicts between the management and the shop-floor.  How can we use this survey in a more persuasive way, so more companies understand the importance of implementation of the 4 tools. Not only hard skills should be trained but also ‘soft’ skills”

Representatives of Vietnam textile Group, Hai Duong Industrial Zone and several companies as well as the representatives of trade unions from central and local level fully agreed with the statement of the Ministry. The trade union representatives added: “Both employees and managers of sector trade unions should be trained in these skills for social dialogue.”

The participants said that VCCI/ VWEC should proactively reach out to business leaders to show them the advantages of the Vietnamese training products. The Conference considers that a marketing strategy should be shaped right now and VCCI/ VWEC and each trainer should  be a product marketeer to the companies.

Most important barriers to overcome are how to finance the trainings and how to develop the reputation of the trainings. Certificates from MOLISA or other Competent authorities can help here.

The Conference agreed that the following actions will be taken: VCCI/ VWEC will work with a variety of tools, looking for the market in places where there are many strikes, e.g. large foreign enterprises.  DECP support will be needed to further strengthen the skills (Negotiation, Mediation, OSH, Lobby).  A network  club of trainers will be established in order to achieve a more effective coordination of these activities. The cooperation with stakeholders will be expanded. Most important are MOLISA, Trade Unions, Industrial Zones, Sectors, like Garment and Textile industry, foreign enterprises.