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Opening Remarks by Mr. Gyorgy Sziraczki, Director, ILO Country Office for Vietnam at the workshop on the implementation of the revised Labour Code and the new Trade Union Law

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Date:     24 September 2013
Event:  Workshop on the implementation of the revised Labour Code and the new Trade Union Law
Venue:  Hanoi, Press Club

  • Mr. Tuc, Vice President of VCCI
  • Ms. Ishikawa, Country Representative of UN Women
  • Distinguished participants, honourable guests, dear colleagues

Good morning

Thank you all for joining this workshop today to look at the revised Labour Code and the new Trade Unions law though a gender lens and to identify areas of action that promote gender equality at work.

The revised Labour Code and the new Trade Union Law represent important steps in Viet Nam’s 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.

These laws also demonstrate Viet Nam’s commitment to gender equality. The important provisions of the Labour Code which aim to ensure equality and non-discrimination at work and improved protection of women workers include:

  • The principle of equal pay for work of equal value;
  • The extension of maternity leave;
  • The recognition of domestic work as a job; and
  • The prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • And many other provisions important to women workers.

On behalf of the ILO, I would like to congratulate the MoLISA, the VCCI and VCGL for their achievement in incorporating gender equality in the law.

The new law opens a window of opportunity in Viet Nam to improve gender equality at work.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Implementing the law is a bigger challenge than drafting it. Despite advances, gender inequalities are pervasive is many workplaces. The pay gap is still a reality. And the ‘job gap’ between men and women – especially in terms of quality – remains wide.

Labour market inequalities and discriminations are often rooted in social-cultural norms, and national policy and institutional frameworks that influence the behavior of actors which, in turn, shape employment opportunities.

Therefore, the effective implementation of the provisions of the law that protects and promotes women at work need to be underpinned by complementary and supportive actions.  

In my view, such actions could include the following:

First, promoting gender equality should not be regarded as only costs to businesses but rather as an investment that pays off in the medium-term. We need to make a convincing business case demonstrating that companies that promote gender equality will benefit.

Second, improving the participation and voice of women in organizations representing workers’ interest, and in governance and decision making processes.

Third, encouraging public institutions, especially government ministries and agencies, to become “model employers” in terms of practicing gender equality in their operation.

Fourth, generating gender-disaggregated data to monitor progress made in closing the gender-gap in the labour market.

Fifth, awareness raising, education and training to empower women at work.

I hope these issues will be part of your discussion and you will identify possible areas of action to support the implementation of the revised Labour Code and the new Trade Union Law in gender-sensitive ways.

Finally, I would to thank VCCI and UN Women to joining the ILO as partners and co-organizers of this event. Special acknowledgement should also go to VCCI for the excellent arrangements made for the workshop.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s raining and desperate outside. But according to a Vietnamese saying, rain may bring luck.

I wish you productive discussion, and I look forward to the outcome of the workshop.