Strikes

Research project:   Strike Reporting and Statistics System – Assessment and Policy                         Recommendations (Report 1)

 

Researchers:               Do Quynh Chi (Research Center for Labour Relations)

                                    Vu Minh Tien  (Institute of Workers and Trade Unions)

                                    Vu Duong        (Center for Industrial Relations Development)

 

Research sponsor:      Vietnam – ILO Industrial Relations Project

 

Research time:            June, 2011

 

Research summary:

 

Two sources of frequently updated and official strike reporting and statistics from the district/commune level to the central level on quarterly and annual basis are the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Vietnam General Federation of Labor (VGCL). Yet, the two agencies did not share the same definitions and classification indicators of strikes and work stoppages. This leads to inconsistencies and incoherence in strike statistics gathered between the two agencies, among provinces, cities, even districts/communes, affecting the comparative studies and policy making of this issue at the central level. To address this issue, the researchers conducted the explanatory research, employing methodology of data collection and analysis, and in-depth interviews.

 

 The study started with an overview of the current reporting and statistics systems of strikes from district to the national level, thereby pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of each of the report system, along with outlining the capacities which may be improved upon in the future.

 

After that, the report proposed some definitions, indicators, and form of data collection based on actual situation of provinces and international practice. Particularly, the report proposed two strike criteria (i.e. a strike should last for at least one day; working days lost at least 100 days), strike types (spontaneous strikes, sit-in, and go-slows). Also, the research found out that number of workers involved in strikes were those who did not work during strikes. Strike indicators were listed as number of strikes (classified into business types, provinces/cities, industries, and business sizes); strike duration (less than a day, 1-5 days, over 5 days) classified into provinces, sectors, nationwide; working days lost (total days of each province and nationwide, average number of working days lost in each strike); among others.

 

Research project:     Trends of Labour Strikes in 2010 and 1st quarter of 2011 (Report 2)

Researchers:               Do Quynh Chi (Research Center for Labour Relations)

                     Vu Minh Tien (Institute of Workers and Trade Unions)

                     Vu Thanh Duong (Center for Industrial Relations Development)

Research sponsor:      Vietnam – ILO Industrial Relations Project

Research time:            June, 2011

Research summary:

The report started with an evaluation of the trends of labour strikes in 2010 and quarter 1/2011 in 5 key provinces including Hanoi, Hai Phong, Tp. HCM, Dong Nai and Binh Duong. For instance, 74.1 percent of the strikes in 2010 occurred in the southern key economic triangle, expanding to many provinces and cities and spreading from the south to the north. The number of strikes in the northern provinces have increased since 2008. Textile and wood processing were the two industries with the highest rate of strikes in 2010. Strike was still a useful tool for workers to increase their benefits. The phenomenon of “strike wave” became pervasive. 70.99 percent of the strikes in 2010 occurred at enterprises that already had enterprise unions.

After that, the research analyzed the current strike-organisation models and the relationship among those models. Not all strikes were the same but there were at least four classifications of strikes based on the presence of pre-strike negotiations and the role of the enterprise unions. Those were model 1 – Strikes resulted from unsuccessful negotiation with the employers and the (unofficial) participation of enterprise unions; model 2: Strikes resulted from unsuccessful negotiation with the employers without the participation of enterprise unions; model 3: Wildcat strikes to benefit from previous strikes, and model 4: Strikes due to misunderstandings. Although the number of strikes of model 1 and 2 were much smaller than that number of model 3 and 4, they played a key role in determining the new wage range  and working conditions for the entire area where the strikes of model 3 spread after that. Thus, the intervention of unions and the state authorities should focus on the group of leading companies (model 1 and 2) instead of spreading out to all enterprises and all strikes.

Also, the report proposed a new approach to dispute mediation, strike organization and strike settlement. Indeed, the proposed procedure supported enterprises of model 1 to strike legally and create a new level of wages and working conditions. But then the effects would spread to nearby enterprises (domino-effect). This is a form of ‘pattern bargaining’ that the unions of other countries are using. The procedure of strike organization was specified as follows. First, collecting demands for better pays/benefits. Then, making written minutes for production team meetings and forwarding to the executive committee. After that, finalizing the demand based on certain criteria. This is followed by sending the demand letter to the board of directors with one week deadline for preparation, and thereafter fixing the negotiation date(s). Following that, holding the collective bargaining with the participation of related parties. Last, notifying the decision on strike to the employers and local authorities three days – a week in advance.

 

Research Project: Wildcat strikes: A catalyst for union reform in Vietnam?

 

Researchers :          Dr. Do Quynh Chi (VietLabour Research Center for Labour Relations, Vietnam)

                                   Di van den Broek (University of Sydney Business School,  Australia)

     Publication:              Wildcat strikes: A catalyst for union reform in Vietnam?,   Journal of Industrial Relations 0(0) 1-17, downloadable from  jir.sagepub.com at PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV

Publication time:    September, 2013

Summary:

During the past decade, Vietnam has transitioned from a highly regulated and authoritarian system to a more market-oriented economy. During this period, Vietnam has also experienced unprecedented levels of industrial action. Informal wildcat strikes, as well as high labour turnover and absenteeism, were most apparent in foreign firms within specific provinces. This article examines the impact of wildcat strikes on reform within Vietnamese trade unions. It suggests that the strikes posted significant challenges for Vietnamese trade unions to be more democratic. However, union subordination to the Communist Party and managerially dependent enterprise unions remained a major obstacle to fundamental trade union reform.

 

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