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Jul 15, 2022 / 21:59

Promoting social dialogue and workplace compliance in Vietnam’s electronics industry

Vietnam's electronics industry should continue to promote social dialogue between employers and employees to increase transparency and sustainable growth.

Promoting social dialogue and workplace compliance is key to sustaining the growth of Vietnam’s electronics industry, according to delegates at the sector forum on July 15 in Hanoi.

At the event with the theme “Decent work and the future of Vietnam’s Electronics Supply Chains” jointly organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), delegates discussed how to seek suitable solutions for the sustainable development of this key industry. 

 Delegates are discussing solutions for the development of Vietnam's electronics supply chains. Photos: Phi Nhat

As Vietnam is building forward better after the Covid-19, the country has a unique opportunity to create more and better jobs, better places to work, and increase productivity and skills in its electronics supply chain.

Vietnam has recorded a continuous year-on-year increase in electronics export values, which now account for one-third of the total national export values. As one of the biggest electronics exporters in the world, Vietnam’s export values in 2021 climbed up to more than US$108 billion. The electronics sector employs more than one million workers. However, the industry mainly focuses on low-value-added and labor-intensive outsourcing and assembly activities.

Addressing the forum, VCCI Vice Chairman Hoang Quang Phong said: “Unstable workforce is one of the major challenges facing the enterprises, especially labor shortage. How to lure workers back to work and how to create decent work for them are now a headache.” 

Preliminary results of the latest enterprise survey conducted by VCCI with ILO support show that around 60% of respondents found a shortage of skilled workers as a moderate to severe challenge in the electronics sector. Half of the enterprises also named the technical skills of supervisors and managers as another major issue.

In that context, ensuring resilient, inclusive and sustainable enterprises in the manufacturing sectors, including the electronics industry, is a top priority to maintain growth and remain competitive in the global market, according to experts at the forum.

“This includes attention to decent work in order to sustain the industry’s competitiveness in the global market and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development,” said ILO Vietnam Director, Ingrid Christensen.

This is in line with the ILO Global Call to Action for a Human-centered Recovery, which focuses on four interrelated pillars - inclusive growth and employment, protection of workers, universal social protection and social dialogue.

“The country may sustain the growth of the industry with proper investment in decent work conditions, including the facilitation of social dialogue and participation in programs promoting workplace compliance,” the Head of ILO Vietnam added.

Experts at the forum agreed that electronics businesses have developed a channel of mutual support to effectively practice social dialogue at all levels to increase productivity and create better working conditions. This good practice is expected to spread to other key export sectors of the country.

Giorgio Aliberti, Ambassador of the European Union to Vietnam

“Social dialogue will play a key role in ensuring sustainable supply chains,” Giorgio Aliberti, Ambassador of the European Union to Vietnam, said.

“Promoting decent work is key to reaching an inclusive, sustainable and resilient electronics industry in Vietnam,” he noted while emphasizing that requirements of investors, consumers, and legislators around the world to promote decent work in global supply chains are on the rise.

Through several projects funded by the European Union and other donors, the ILO, in close collaboration with VCCI, currently supported partners to address decent work deficits and build forward better global supply chains in the industry.

At the event, a representative from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor said the message Covid-19 conveyed to labor relations is social dialogue, and the employer and the employee have worked together to improve labor productivity and develop business activities.

It is necessary to re-organize the industry's trade union in Vietnam, which has not yet attracted non-state trade unionists. "We will propose an establishment of a trade union in the electronics industry that will work with the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association to solve labor challenges," she said.