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Opening remarks by Mr. Gyorgy Sziraczki, Director, ILO Country Office for Viet Nam at the launching ceremony of National Wage Council in Viet Nam

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Event: Launching ceremony of National Wage Council in Viet Nam
Date: Hanoi, 6 August 2013

Mr Ninh, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam
Madam Chuyen, Minister of MoLISA
Mr Huan, Chairman of the National Wage Council
Distinguished members of the National Wage Council
Distinguished participants and honorable guests,

Let me first welcome you all, as others have done, whether you be representative of the Government, Employers, Workers, observers or guests to the Launching Ceremony of the National Wage Council.

In doing so, and on behalf of the ILO, I would like to thank MoLISA and the Viet Nam Industrial Relations Project for the excellent arrangements that have been made for this important event.

During the past decades, Viet Nam has made a remarkable journey in moving towards sound industrial relations that support democratic principles, rights at work and the transformation of the country into a vibrant, diversified and competitive economy that is well integrated in global production networks.

Your achievements are tangible. They include the new Labour Code and the Trade Union Law, which have come into force this year. And today, we are here for the launching of the National Wage Council. On behalf of the ILO, I would like to congratulate MoLISA, the National Assembly, the Government Office, VGCL, VCCI and VCA for all their efforts which have led to the birth of this minimum wage fixing institution.

The ILO is proud to be part of this work. Thank you for your excellent cooperation over the past few years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The National Wage Council is a key building block of a sound and cooperative industrial relations system. The significance of the Council manifold as it

  • Improves minimum wage setting mechanism based on data and evidence;
  • Promotes social dialogues and search for compromise, and hence industrial peace;
  • Increases the accountability of social partners to their respective members; and
  • Contributes to better enforcement of minimum wages.

But making the National Wage Council well operate will be a bigger challenge than establishing it. Lessons learnt from other countries and Viet Nam’s situation show that the tripartite partners will need to:

  • Ensure that the relevant statistics and analytical capacity are in place to support evidence-based dialogues;
  • Strengthen the technical capacity of workers’ and employers’ organizations to be able to effectively participate in the work of Council; and
  • Improve the enforcement of the regional minimum wages which requires action at many fronts and better use of labour inspection.

The role of the Government in the operation of the National Wage Council will be particularly critical. The Government is not only the “institutional architect” of the over-arching framework under which wage deliberations are undertaken it is also an “agenda-setter”, an “information and statistics provider” and a “facilitator” in promoting dialogue and deliberation.
It is equally important to recognize that minimum wage setting and collective wage bargaining are two key and complementary mechanisms for wage determination; one cannot replace the other.
Mr Deputy Prime Minister, Madame Minister and Mr Chairperson —your presence today shows your strong commitment to partnership to support the development of an effective and fair minimum wage fixing mechanism in Viet Nam.
Thank you for your efforts to establishing more inclusive and fairer labour markets which uphold international labour standards and rights at work with social dialogue at the core.
The participation of tripartite partners – Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations – is key to success. I would like to assure you that the ILO is ready to support the National Wage Council of Viet Nam on the challenging road ahead.
I wish you all good health and success.

Thank you